Friday, January 30, 2015

Public Input Sought on Science Standards

Public input sought on science standards
February public forums scheduled; survey opened this week
DES MOINES – Iowa Department of Education Director Brad Buck today announced this week that he’s seeking input from Iowans on a preliminary proposal to update Iowa’s science standards.
Buck announced a series of February public forums and an online survey following a state panel’s recommendation to get public feedback on the Next Generation Science Standards. This is the name of science standards developed by 26 states, including Iowa, that all states can consider adopting and adapting to meet their needs. 
Academic standards represent expectations for what students should know and be able to do from kindergarten through high school. Iowa’s academic standards are being reviewed, starting with science, as part of Executive Order 83.
“We want to improve our state standards, and we also want to make sure they are the right fit for Iowa,” Buck said. “That’s why public input is such a critical part of this review process.”
The process began last fall, when Buck convened a team of education and business leaders to review Iowa’s science standards, as well as rigorous science standards from other states, and to make a preliminary recommendation for improvement to take to the public for feedback.
The science standards review team’s preliminary recommendation came in December, following three public meetings.
Feedback from the February public forums and survey will be used to provide guidance to the science standards review team, which is expected to submit a final recommendation regarding science standards to the State Board of Education later this year.
Buck said fine-tuning Iowa’s science standards is especially critical as the state works to bolster its commitment to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education so that students can compete for a growing number of STEM-related jobs.
“Standards are about setting consistent, rigorous learning goals statewide and leaving decisions about curriculum and teaching to local school administrators and teachers,” Buck said. “If our goal is to make sure Iowa students are ready for college and career training after high school, we must have clear, consistent statewide standards.”
The survey will be open through Friday, Feb. 27. To take the survey go to:
Iowans also can provide feedback in person at any of the four public forums in February:
Wednesday, Feb. 11: Waukee
4:30 to 6:30 p.m.
Waukee Community Schools District Office – Board Room
560 Southeast University Ave.
Waukee, IA
Tuesday, Feb. 24, Ottumwa
4:30 to 6:30 p.m.        
Great Prairie Area Education Agency, Ottumwa Office – Auditorium
            2814 North Court Street
Ottumwa, IA
Wednesday, Feb. 25, Dubuque
4:30 to 6:30 p.m.        
Keystone Area Education Agency, Dubuque Office – Room 1 ABC
            2310 Chaney Road
Dubuque, IA
Thursday, Feb. 26, Sioux City
4:30 to 6:30 p.m.        
Northwest Area Education Agency, Administrative Office – Room A/Auditorium
1520 Morningside Ave.
Sioux City, IA
To read the Next Generation Science Standards, visit
To read Iowa’s academic standards, visit
About the science standards review team: The team is made up of education and business leaders with expertise in physical science, life science, earth and space science, and engineering, technology and application. A list of members is available on the Iowa Department of Education’s website.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Navigating the New Iowa Core Website Video

Here is a GREAT video demonstrating the new Iowa Core website This navigates through the tabs of Iowa Core Standards, Educator Resources and Parents & Community.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Using the EQuiP Rubric for Aligning Classroom Lessons & Units to the Common Core

 In May, I blogged about using the EQuiP rubric (see below).  The EQuiP rubric is a great tool to:
  • Guide the development of lessons and units
  • Evaluate existing lessons and units to identify improvements needed to align with the CCSS
  • Build understand­ing of the instructional demands of the CCSS

At Keystone AEA, we recently surveyed our schools to determine their level of readiness and understanding of this tool.  In efforts of better understanding the EQuiP rubric and its importance, please check out these great resources:

Intro to the EQuiP Rubric video and powerpoint

Iowa Core Blog from 5/22/14
I love the opportunity when I get to spend some time with my colleagues from across the state.  Today I discovered a great rubric for aligning classroom lessons and units to the Common Core. "The EQuIP rubrics should be used for: guiding the development of lessons and units, evaluating existing lessons and units to identify improvements needed to align with the CCSS, building the capacity of teachers to gain a deeper understanding of the instructional demands of the CCSS, and informing publishers of the criteria that will be applied in the evaluation of proposals and final products."  To access these great resources, go to and search for EQuIP rubrics. 

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Iowa Core & Alignment Iowa Core outcome long forgotten or something we think about but just don't always take the time to revisit?  Recently, I have had an influx of questions about I-CAT and thought the topic warranted some "air time".
I've always been a firm believer in the power of alignment and haven't given up hope that our schools feel the same way.  To no one's fault, our attention has been pulled in millions of other directions and the time and attention we've given to alignment has been minimal.  
In 2010, legislation defined full implementation of the Iowa Core as "accomplished when the school or district is able to provide evidence that an ongoing process is in place to ensure that each and every student is learning the Iowa Core standards for ELA and Mathematics and the Essential Concepts and Skills of Science, Social Studies and 21st Century Skills.  A school that has fully implemented the Iowa Core is engaged in an ongoing process of data gathering and analysis, decision making, identifying actions, and assessing impact around alignment and professional development focused on content, instruction, and assessment.  The school is fully engaged in a continuous improvement process that specifically targets improved student learning and performance."
The rationale and importance of this work was further captured with; "If district leaders (administrators, teachers, and the school board) and other educators monitor and increase the degree of alignment among the intended, enacted, and assessed curriculum, then the quality of instruction will improve and student learning and performance will increase."  
SO....that leaves me wondering....
  • How are our schools collecting that evidence of an ongoing process that is in place to ensure that each and every student is learning?  Is  I-CAT the tool of choice in collecting this evidence?  What other evidence have we collected?
  • Are our school increasing the degree of alignment to near 100%?  Do we know where they started and to what extent their alignment has improved? 
  • What actions have been taken to ensure that teachers are using this data to make decisions regarding what students need to know, with what is happening in the classrooms, and how students are being assessed?
  • How do we know whether teachers "know" the standards and have aligned their instruction and assessment accordingly?