What should students at a given class level know, understand and be able to do? This is the first of four key questions Ankeny teachers focus on daily, both in their classrooms and in Professional Learning Communities (PLC). When a question drives so much of teachers’ work, it’s important to have a common definition from classroom to classroom and building to building. Having clear learning targets, or “standards,” is so vital that Iowa law now requires all Iowa schools to use a consistent set of standards to identify what students should know and be able to do, or face losing their accreditation and funding. Districts across the state have adopted this set of standards. The new Iowa Core is a statewide effort to improve teaching and learning to ensure that all Iowa students engage in a rigorous and relevant curriculum.
Universal Constructs of the Iowa Core
In order to be successful in the 21st Century, it will be essential that students today need to have knowledge and skills that go beyond the ability to simply memorize facts and multiplication tables. They will need to be critical thinkers, be able to solve problems and collaborate with others in teams. In the process of developing the Iowa Core, teachers and educators identified a group of skills, competencies and habits that they believed will be needed for future success in careers, college and life.
A team of educators and business representatives used multiple sources in developing these "universal constructs." The universal constructs apply all aspects of an individual's life and across all curricular areas. The Universal Constructs document can be viewed below.