Posted on 10/10/2014 at 02:18 PM by Blog Experts


Key Messages About the Iowa Core

  • The Iowa Core is a set of goals -- academic standards that set high expectations and provide a clear understanding of what students should know and be able to do in math, science, English language arts and social studies. The standards include learning goals for 21st century skills in areas such as financial and technology literacy.


  • The Iowa Core sets appropriate expectations for all students -- regardless of where they live -- that reflect the real-world knowledge and skills they will need to graduate from high school prepared for college or to enter the workforce.


  • The Iowa Core emphasizes complex skills rather than basic skills. The standards promote learning based on problem-solving, creativity, and critical-thinking rather than memorization of isolated facts.


  • The standards establish what students need to learn, but not how teachers should teach. The Iowa Core is a set of expectations, not a curriculum, so decisions about how to help students reach the standards remain in the hands of local schools and teachers.


  • With students, parents and teachers all on the same page and working together toward shared goals, we can ensure that students make progress each year and graduate prepared to build a strong future for themselves and for Iowa.


  • This school year is the first in which all grades (K-12) will fully implement the Iowa Core.


Additional Information

How do the Iowa Core and the Common Core overlap?

  • Iowa lawmakers approved the Iowa Core as a state requirement in 2008. State legislators and education leaders led this shift away from locally determined standards, which had caused inconsistent expectations in schools across the state. Iowa educators identified and wrote the essential concepts and skills that make up the Iowa Core.


  • As Iowa worked to develop and implement the Iowa Core, a consortium of states came together to develop common standards for English language arts and math. This was in response to concerns across the country that many students were graduating from high school unprepared for the demands of college and careers.
  • The Common Core standards were developed by this coalition of states led by governors and state school chiefs. Forty-eight states took part, drawing on the expertise of content specialists, teachers, school administrators and parents. The process was open for public comment, and more than 10,000 comments were received.


  • The Common Core standards incorporate the best and highest of previous state standards in the U.S. and are internationally benchmarked to the top-performing nations around the world. Most states have voluntarily adopted the Common Core.

How was the Common Core adopted in Iowa?

  • Iowa, through authority vested in the State Board of Education by the Iowa Legislature, adopted the Common Core State Standards in a public process in 2010 and blended them with our state standards. This was an easy decision because:
    • The two were very comparable in English language arts and math; a study showed 97 percent alignment.
    • Consistent standards allow teachers from across the country to share information and resources and give students a more seamless educational experience from state to state.


Doesn’t the Common Core represent an overreach by the federal government?

  • No. The Common Core was developed by a coalition of states, not the federal government, and Iowa is not receiving federal money to implement the Common Core as part of the Iowa Core.

Where does it stand today?

  • Iowa Core implementation is a multi-year process led locally by schools and school districts with assistance from the Iowa Department of Education and Area Education Agencies.


  • With professional development, schools continue to address how the standards fit with academic content, teaching, and local assessments well into the 2014-15 school year.


  • The Iowa Core is not perfect. We want to continually improve the standards and look to Iowa education stakeholders to help us make the Iowa Core the right fit for Iowa.


  • Iowans will continue to have input into improving our state standards. One way is through an executive order from Gov. Branstad that requires an ongoing review process. The Iowa Department of Education is determining the process for review, which will begin this fall.

Key Features

English/Language Arts

  • Build knowledge through content-rich nonfiction and informational texts plus literature.
  • Reading and writing grounded in evidence from the text.
  • Regular practice with complex text and its academic vocabulary.


English Language Arts – Reading: Literature – Grade 8

  • Craft and Structure
    • Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone, including analogies or allusions to other texts.
    • Compare and contrast the structure of two or more texts and analyze how the differing structure of each text contributes to its meaning and style.
    • Analyze how differences in the points of view of the characters and the audience or reader (e.g., created through the use of dramatic irony) create such effects as suspense or humor.


  • Focus: 2-3 topics focused on deeply in each grade.
  • Coherence: Concepts logically connected from one grade to the next and linked to other major topics within the grade.
  • Rigor: Application of knowledge to real-world situations, and deep understanding of mathematical concepts.


Mathematics – Grade 3 – Measurement & Data

  • Solve Problems Involving Measurement and Estimation of Intervals of Time, Liquid Volumes, and Masses of Objects.
    • Tell and write time to the nearest minute and measure time intervals in minutes. Solve word problems involving addition and subtraction of time intervals in minutes, e.g., by representing the problem on a number line diagram.
    • Measure and estimate liquid volumes and masses of objects using standard units of grams (g), kilograms (kg), and liters (I).[1]  Add, subtract, multiply, or divide to solve one-step word problems involving masses or volumes that are given in the same units, e.g., by using drawings (such as a beaker with a measurement scale) to represent the problem.[2]


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