The Iowa Core Standards for Literacy and Mathematics are intended to play a central role in defining what teachers teach. That is, teachers are to align their instruction to the Standards. The Standards not only define the topical, procedural, and conceptual knowledge students are to learn, they also define the type of cognitive processes in which students are to engage. This is known as cognitive demand or cognitive complexity. The practical implication of cognitive complexity is that the Standards require teachers to provide students with instructional experiences that not only address the topical and conceptual knowledge of the standards, but the type of thinking called for by the standards as well.
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