The State Board of Education today approved the final portion of the curriculum guidelines the state will require all schools to use for students from kindergarten through high school.
Department of Education Director Judy Jeffrey calls it an historic step to complete the Iowa Core Curriculum.
The board today approved social studies, kindergarten through eighth grade and the final piece of the 21st Century skills for kindergarten through eighth grade. Jeffrey says there are now concepts and skills for financial literacy, health literacy, civic literacy, employability and technology literacy, plus all of the academic areas. Jeffrey says the core plan gives guidelines for each district in developing their curriculum.
Jeffrey says the essential concepts and skills must be in place in all districts in their written and taught curriculum, but there is still flexibility for the written curriculum. She says it gives the schools goals to attain with a great deal of local flexibility. The goal behind the Iowa Core Curriculum is to raise student achievement and improve teaching.
Jeffrey says there are new forms being developed for the Iowa tests that will be used to measure the accountability of the schools, and they are also asking for a writing test to measure the essential concepts and skills. She says there will be a much more standard expectation of what students are expected to learn in the primary, intermediate and high school grades.
Jeffrey says this is another step in preparing Iowa students to meet the challenges of the 21st Century. "Well, I think we are way ahead of the nation in the identification of those 21st Century skills, and we really believe this standard, of what I would say is excellence for our students, will really put us as a frontrunner in the nation and a frontrunner in the world if all of our students actually attain these concepts and skills before they graduate from high school," Jeffrey says.
Schools in Iowa are now receiving training on the Iowa Core Curriculum, which must be fully implemented in high schools by the 2012-2013 school year and in kindergarten through eighth (K-8) grade by the 2014-2015 school year.