Module 2 Review • During Module 2, we worked on developing common vocabulary and understanding of key curriculum terms. • Recall and explain the definitions of foundational curriculum terms • Organize foundational terms into a framework of logical relationships • Today, we are going to build on that work with some key concepts and terms specific to alignment.
Objectives • Summarize the relationship between the Iowa Core Curriculum and the Iowa Core Content Standards and Benchmarks 2. Remember and explain key alignment concepts and terms
The Relationship • There are two state-level education policy documents that speak to what students should learn. • Iowa Core Content Standards and Benchmarks (CCSB) • Iowa Core Curriculum (CC) • Though related, these two documents are not interchangeable. • The Iowa Core Content Standards and Benchmarks are broad statements of critical content. • The Iowa Core Curriculum provides further detail related to the Iowa Core Content Standards and Benchmarks, and extends beyond them.
Whole-Group Activity: The Relationship • Review the example document: MATHEMATICS Core Content Standards and Benchmarks and The Iowa Core Curriculum • Note the following features of the relationship displayed • The broad nature of the Iowa Core Content Standards and Benchmark statements • The specific nature of the Iowa Core Curriculum compared to the Iowa Core Content Standard and Benchmark statements • The layout of the document (i.e., general to more specific)
Understanding Alignment • What is Alignment? • To paraphrase…The extent to which and how well all policy elements (e.g., content, instruction, and assessment) work together to guide instruction and, ultimately, student learning (Webb, 1997). • In other words…content, instruction, and assessments need to provide clear messages about the important goals and outcomes of the educational system. • Alignment information can be thought of as a characteristic of the relationship among content, instruction, and assessment
Understanding Alignment • The purpose of alignment work is to determine the extent to which content, instruction, and assessment are in agreement AND facilitate student learning. • It’s not just an event…it’s a process!
Why Alignment is Important • Aligned content, instruction, and assessment provide clear messages about important goals and outcomes. • Conversely, when policy elements contradict each other, increased stress and pressure may be placed on educators and students.
Why Alignment is Important • Having alignment data provides valuable information about system functioning to be used for improvement efforts. • Poorly aligned instructional content with assessments can “result in our underestimating the effect of instruction on learning” (Anderson, 2002).
Why Alignment is Important • What research tells us the impact of alignment on student outcomes • As alignment between what is taught and assessments increases, so to do student outcomes (e.g., Gamoran et al., 1997; Cohen, 1987). • This is true even for students with low achievement, low SES, and ethnically and culturally diverse groups. • Important to consider both topical/ conceptual information, as well as cognitive complexity when measuring alignment.
Alignment Logic and the Iowa Core Curriculum • The Iowa Core Curriculum defines the Essential Concepts and Skill Sets students need to learn. • The content of instruction should be guided by (aligned with) the Iowa Core Curriculum. • Fair assessment practices means students are assessed on what they are supposed to learn (align assessments with the Iowa Core Curriculum). • Fair assessment practices also means students are assessed on what they have will have or had an opportunity to learn (align assessments with instructional content).
Rationale for Alignment • In other words… • figure out what to teach (i.e., the Iowa Core Curriculum), • teach it, and • assess it • Because if we don’t… • we are being unfair, and • adults and children get confused and frustrated • Instead, the goal of alignment with the Iowa Core Curriculum is to… • reduce confusion • improve opportunity to learn for students, and ultimately • improve outcomes for each and every student
Common Vocabulary • Why do we need common vocabulary? • Clarifies communication within and among stakeholder groups across the state • Enhance dialogue for common understanding, which is ultimately the goal • Clarity and common understanding help reduce confusion and frustration, and facilitates a common vision
Activity • FIRST, in table groups, divide the alignment terms, and write your own definitions. • SECOND, come back together as a table group and share your definitions. • THIRD, as a table group, match each alignment term with the provided definitions. • FOURTH, review the definitions sheet, and ask clarifying questions as necessary.
The Big Picture • Consider the curriculum definitions activity from Module 2. • Alignment can be examined among the intended, enacted, and assessed curriculum (Porter, 2002). • When examining alignment among these three components, we need to consider the different characteristics of alignment (Niebling et al., 2008). • Directionality • Dimensions • Level of Analysis • As Iowa Core Curriculum work moves forward, we’ll spend more time learning how to examine these different characteristics appropriately, and how to prioritize alignment efforts.
Some Thoughts to Consider • There are a wide variety of experience and roles within a building, district, at the AEAs and Department of Education. • To develop a common understanding about the Iowa Core Curriculum, we all need to have professional conversations about practices we engage in or observe. • As our common understanding improves, it will help ensure that all students in Iowa have an equitable opportunity to learn the Essential Concepts and Skill Sets found in the Iowa Core Curriculum.
References • Anderson, L. W. (2002). Curriculum alignment: A re-examination. Theory into Practice, 41 (4), 255-260. • Cohen, S. A. (1987). Instructional alignment: Searching for a magic bullet. Educational Researcher, 16, 16–20. • Niebling, B. C., Roach, A. T., & Rahn-Blakeslee, A. (2008). Best practices in curriculum, instruction, and assessment alignment. In A. Thomas & J. Grimes (Eds.), Best Practices in School Psychology, Vol. 4 (5th ed., pp. 1059-1072). Bethesda, MD: National Association of School Psychologists. • Porter, A. C. (2002). Measuring the content of instruction: Uses in research and practice. Educational Researcher, 31, 3–14. • Webb, N. L. (1997). Criteria for alignment of expectations and assessments in mathematics and science education (Research Monograph No. 8). Madison, WI: National Institute for Science Education, University of Wisconsin–Madison.