A rigorous public input and review process is a crucial component of developing high-quality academic standards. In Iowa, the Iowa Department of Education (Department) follows Executive Order 83, which mandates a process for the citizenry to review and provide feedback on the Iowa Academic Standards on a continual basis. Therefore, the Iowa Academic Standards, both required and recommended, continually undergo public input, vetting and scrutiny before being officially recommended for adoption to the Iowa State Board of Education.
The Department has a four-phase comprehensive and rigorous process for regularly updating the state’s academic standards. They are:
Phase 1: Create a Draft Set of Revised Standards
This phase focuses on revising the existing standards. A standards revision team is established by application. The team then creates a draft standards document that is shared with the public for feedback.
Phase 2: Stakeholder Feedback
The draft revised standards are shared with the public and feedback is sought. Three forms of feedback are used. First, the Department distributes a survey to seek broad public feedback. Second, the Department hosts forums to allow open comments about the standards. Finally, the Department conducts focus groups with key stakeholders (e.g. administrators, professional organization leadership, teachers, etc.). All of the feedback data is then used to make adjustments to the standards.
Phase 3: Revise Standards Based on Feedback
A standards review team is established to examine the stakeholder feedback and make changes to the standards based on that feedback. A final draft of the standards is put together to take to the State Board for approval.
Phase 4: State Board Approval
A report including the standards process and draft standards are brought before the state board for potential approval.