Iowa Core Background
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Work on the Iowa Core began in 2005, when the Iowa legislature passed Senate File 245. The Iowa Department of Education collaborated with representative’s from various education stakeholder groups to develop the core curriculum for high school math, science, and literacy.
This work was expanded in 2007, when the Iowa legislature not only passed state mandated standards, but expanded the Iowa Core by enacting Senate File 588. This legislation called for the Iowa Core to also include grades kindergarten through 8th grade and the additional subject areas of social studies and 21st century learning skills.
To develop the Iowa Core, the Iowa Department of Education convened a Project Lead Team and Work Teams in the content areas of literacy, mathematics, and science. The charge given to the Project Lead Team was to define and collaborate with subcommittees in identifying the essential content and skills of a world-class core curriculum. The team also was asked to present its findings to the State Board of Education in partial fulfillment of SF 245. The initial phase of the project work focused on the areas of literacy, mathematics, and science.
Important considerations in completing this work included the following:
- The needs of students. These needs include not only legacy content like reading, writing, arithmetic, logical thinking, understanding the writings and ideas of the past, but also those Marc Prensky, author of 'Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants' refers to as future content (2001). The 'future' content is digital and technological, including software, hardware, robotics, nanotechnology, and genomics and the ethics, politics, sociology, and languages that come with them.
- The needs of a changing workforce. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, jobs requiring science, engineering, and technical training will increase by 51 percent between 1998 and 2008, four times faster than overall job growth. By 2008, there will be six million job openings for scientists, engineers, and technicians.
- The need to remain globally competitive. The sheer number of college graduates from other countries will change world dynamics. No longer do students from foreign countries have to come to the U.S. for higher education. No longer with the U.S. have enough engineers and scientists to fill the needs. Other countries will have the numbers that create new ideas, building companies that launch innovations, and produce goods wanted by the world.
- The most critical curriculum in literacy, mathematics, and science has been identified for Iowa educators. This is based upon a review of research and best practice literature; examination of national standards; and information from Iowa Testing Services, the National Assessment of Education Progress, ACT, and the College Board.
- Iowa graduates who know these essential concepts and possess these essential skills should find success in any post-high school endeavor, whether that be in a classroom or the workplace.
- The Iowa Core encourages instructional practices that deeply engage students by requiring them to be active learners and critical thinkers who can apply their learning to new and unpredictable situations.
- As a district determines the courses it will accept as part of the 4-3-3-3 graduation requirement, educators are encouraged to review local curriculum to ensure that these skills and concepts are part of the educational program of every graduate.
The Essential Content of a World Class Core Curriculum
Guidance on Appropriate Uses of Alignment Data
The alignment study between the Common Core State Standards in English/Language Arts and Mathematics and the Iowa Core Essential Concepts/Skill Sets and Details in Literacy and Mathematics, commissioned and completed by the Iowa Department of Education in July 2010, resulted in large data sets. The raw data sets include literally thousands of rows of information about where the overlaps and gaps between the two documents exist. A summary of the alignment study can be found at below.
The alignment study was conducted to provide information for the following purposes:
- To help the Iowa State Board of Education make an informed decision about adopting the Common Core State Standards.
- To provide LEAs and AEAs with information to help make the transition from their work with the original content of the Essential Concepts/Skill Sets and Details to the Common Core State Standards (i.e., the new, updated version of the Iowa Core for Literacy and Mathematics).
- To assist in identifying a proposal for the “up to 15 percent additional content” to the Common Core, an option that is within the state’s purview.
The Iowa State Board of Education subsequently adopted the Common Core State Standards in English/Language Arts and Mathematics, which replaced the original Essential Concepts/Skill Sets and Details of the Iowa Core. Therefore, spending a lot of time examining the overlaps between the Common Core and the Iowa Core may not be the best use of valuable time and resources. Two primary points to remember about these data are:
- You can have confidence that the work you have already started with the Iowa Core is on the right track.
- If you do wish to review the raw data of overlaps, the appropriate use for these data are to explore connections between local district content decisions made within the last two years related to the Iowa Core and how that connects with the sections of the Common Core that the Iowa Core matches.
The data posted below are the unmatched portions of the Common Core and Iowa Core. That is, the content found in the Common Core but not the Iowa Core, as well as the content found in the Iowa Core but not the Common Core. The posted files provide a list of the unmatched content, along with important identifying information (e.g., grade level/span, strand/discipline information), and are organized by content area. Some important things to keep in mind about this information are:
- This information is one of the primary resources being used to determine what, if any, content should be added back to the Iowa Core.
- This information may be a helpful resource for districts to use when deciding areas that should no longer be pursued (pending any future adoptions of this content by the Iowa State Board of Education).
If you do wish to review the overlap data, or have questions about the alignment study or how to use the data, contact Rita Martens at email@example.com, 515-281-3145.