Skip to Content

State Board of Education adopts minimal revisions to literacy standards

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

DES MOINES – Members of the State Board of Education today adopted minimal revisions to Iowa’s academic standards for literacy as recommended by a state review team.

The board’s unanimous vote was based on the Literacy Standards Review Team’s recommendations, which aim to provide clarity and eliminate redundancy within the current standards. For example, the team recommended removing specific text titles and authors throughout the standards based on public feedback that some educators saw them as required reading rather than examples. The team also recommended additional resources for teachers and professional learning opportunities to strengthen instruction.

“These are not wholesale revisions, but they are helpful adjustments based on a lot of feedback,” said Iowa Department of Education Director Ryan Wise. “We thank the Literacy Standards Review Team for its hard work.”

Iowa’s literacy standards outline learning expectations for students in kindergarten through 12th grade in English language arts and for literacy in history, social studies, science and other technical subjects.

The Literacy Standards Review Team represents the second phase of an ongoing state process for reviewing Iowa’s academic standards, which also cover science, social studies, mathematics and 21st century skills, such as financial literacy.

The first phase of the standards review process ended in August 2015, with the State Board of Education’s adoption of new science standards.

The Literacy Standards Review Team sought public feedback through an online survey as well as public forums, which drew more than 5,000 responses. A majority of comments were in favor of Iowa’s current literacy standards.

Additionally, two focus groups of teachers who met independently of the review team to discuss the standards said they had done extensive work to implement the literacy standards and would not support significant changes. But they also indicated they needed more time and collaboration with other educators to improve implementation of the standards.

About Iowa’s state standards: Iowa’s statewide academic standards set consistent expectations for what students should know and be able to do from kindergarten through 12th grade in science, social studies, English language arts, math and 21st century skills (civic literacy, employability skills, financial literacy, health literacy, and technology literacy). The standards, known as the Iowa Core, establish what students must learn to be prepared for success after high school. Local schools and educators continue to set and oversee decisions about curriculum and classroom instruction.

For more information about Iowa’s state standards, visit

Article Type: 

Printed from the Iowa Department of Education website on May 22, 2018 at 7:01am.