The purpose of these documents is to help educators gauge the quality of their curriculum, instruction and assessments within and across grades, and most importantly plan shifts in instruction as called for in the Iowa Core. Two solid anchors are used in this process. The Iowa Core Standards serve as the first solid anchor. They clearly outline what teachers are expected to teach students, and more importantly what students are expected to learn from this instruction. The Smarter-Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC), National Assessment of Educational Process (NAEP), Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC), and Illustrative Mathematics (IM) released sample assessment items serve as the second anchor. These standards-based assessment questions, within and across grades, are provided across the assigned Webb’s Depth of Knowledge (DOK) levels of the standards. Quality assessment items can be used to help bring more clarity to what it is that students are expected to learn within and across the standards and their assigned DOK level. Thus, these quality standards-based assessment items serve as another solid anchor which clearly outlines the quality of curriculum, instruction and assessment (formative assessment strategies and processes, screening, diagnostic, common classroom, interim and summative assessments) that is called for in the Iowa Core and used by teachers to measure their impact in student learning. Therefore, these two solid anchors can help you systematically examine your curriculum, instruction and assessments for each standard across grades. The sample items are not intended to be used as practice tests.
When using these documents always ask yourself this question, “Using the above information, do I have alignment between the Iowa Core Standards, and my curriculum, instruction and assessment, and the released standards-based sample assessment questions?” When this is the case you will know your impact on students’ learning sooner, rather than later.
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