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LEADERSHIP AGENDA

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OPERATIONAL SCAN

DEPARTMENT PERFORMANCE

LEADERSHIP AGENDA

Education 

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MEASURE:
Percentage of children, ages three and four, who have participated in a preschool program that is NAEYC accredited and/or meets Head Start program performance standards, or meets a comparable set of standards, or participating in preschool and childcare programs that are implementing Iowa QPPS.

Data Source: Departments of Education and Human Services

NAEYC = National Association for the Education of Young Children.

QPPS = Quality Preschool Program Standards

 

GRAPH - Percentage of Childre Attending Quality Preschools

Why this is important:
Research has established a clear and compelling connection between the quality of children's early learning experiences and later success in school and in life. By achieving NAEYC accreditation, meeting Head Start Program Performance Standards or consistently implementing the QPPS standards and criteria, programs are providing quality early learning experiences that promote positive outcomes for children and reduce the achievement gap when they enter kindergarten. Providing children with access to high quality preschools is Iowa's best and most cost-effective long-term investment in reducing future costs for academic remediation, in building a quality workforce, and in supporting the quality of family life that Iowa values.

What we're doing about this:
The Governor, Department of Education (DE), and the State Board of Education have established early childhood as one of Iowa's education priorities. They are committed to providing quality early learning services and programs to children, birth to five years of age, and their families. The DE is providing statewide training in order to support preschool and child care programs to implement the Iowa Quality Preschool Program Standards (QPPS).

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MEASURE:
Percentage of children entering kindergarten who are performing at or above proficiency with preliteracy skills as measured by DIBELS.

Data Source: Department of Education, BEDS

DIBELS: Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy SKills

 

GRAPH - children Entering School Proficient

Why this is important:
Understanding beginning sounds and being able to name letters are crucial skills for learning to read. The percent of students entering Kindergarten in Iowa who are proficient in these preliteracy skills is decreasing, indicating a strong need for more quality preschools.


What we're doing about this:
The Iowa Department of Education supports initiatives that specifically target quality preschool programming and literacy development for young children. Examples include Shared Visions and Head Start preschool programs, the AEA Early Childhood Network, the Iowa quality Preschool Program Standards (QPPS) and the Iowa Early Learning Standards. The Department also collaborates with Iowa Public Television's Ready to Learn service that provides training and related educational materials to families and early care providers to help improve early learning experiences for children.

In addition, the 2006 General Assembly appropriated an additional $15 million to the Empowerment Board for early childhood education. Of that amount approximately $5 million will go for parent education, $3.6 million for increasing access to preschool, $5.4 million for improving quality, and $1 million for business partnership.

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MEASURE:
Percentage of fourth graders performing at or above the proficient level on the ITBS reading comprehension test.

Data Source: Department of Education

ITBS = Iowa Tests of Basic Skills

 

Updated 8/29/06

GRAPH - Iowa 4trh Grade Reading Proficiency

NOTE: Percentages for each biennium period represent average percentages of proficient students for the two school years represented, e.g. 2001-2003 represents the average for the 2001-2002 and the 2002-2003 school years.

Why this is important:
The percentage of 4th graders who are proficient in reading indicates whether instructional programs are working. A student designated as proficient can, at a minimum, do the following: usually understands factual information and new words in context; and usually is able to make inferences and interpret either nonliteral language or information in new contexts, they can determine a selection's main idea and analyze its style and structure.


What we're doing about this:
The Department is implementing four major projects to improve reading instruction and, therefore, reading proficiency levels for students. These initiatives are designed to help all students succeed, thereby, decreasing achievement gaps.

  • Every Child Reads K-12 is a professional development strategy for large-scale, building-based structured school improvement focused on accelerating the reading achievement of students, with a special emphasis on students who are experiencing difficulty.
  • Reading First is designed to accelerate the reading achievement of students in Kindergarten through 3rd grade in low performing/high poverty schools so that all students are reading at grade level by the end of third grade.
  • The Teacher Development Academies are a series of professional development opportunities offered to teams from public schools featuring research based content and nationally recognized trainers. The Academies offered in the area of reading are Concept-Oriented Reading, Second Chance Reading and Question/Answer Relationship.
  • Strategic Instruction Model promotes effective teaching and learning about the critical core content in schools through content Enhancement Routines and Learning Strategies Curriculum.

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MEASURE:
Percent of American College Testing (ACT) participants taking core high school program.

Data Source: Department of Education

GRAPH - Percentage of ACT participants taking the core high school programs

Why this is important:
American College Testing (ACT) designed the ACT Assessments to measure high school students general education development and ability to succeed at the college level. The ACT scores range from a low of 1 to a high of 36. ACT defines "core" as high school programs consisting of 4 years of English, and 3 or more years of mathematics, natural science and social studies. The average ACT composite score for test takers in Iowa who have completed the core courses in high school is 22.9. By comparison, the Iowa "less than core" test takers have an average composite score of 20.2. This indicates that students taking the core program in high school are more likely to be successful in college.

What we're doing about this:
The Department of Education is involved in a multitude of activities designed to increase rigor and relevance in the high school curriculum. High school review visits, community conversations, High School Summits, a Comprehensive School Reform grant program, the Iowa Professional Development Model, Improving Rigor and Relevance in the High School Curriculum, Iowa Learning Online, and Iowa AP Online Academy are just a few of the initiatives (for more information see http://www.state.ia.us/educate/ecese/hsbf/doc/activities_support_hs_initiatives_051107.htm.)

In addition, the 2006 General Assembly passed legislation requiring school districts to set graduation requirements at a minimum of 4 credits for English/language arts, and 3 credits each for mathematics, science and social studies. The Department and State Board of Education developed and adopted a Model Core Curriculum that goes beyond looking at the number of courses that students take, and identifies the essential content and skills for a world-class core curriculum. http://www.state.is.us/educate/ecese/hsmcc/doc/06_MCC_final-report.pdf

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MEASURE:
Percent of Iowa public high school graduates/seniors pursuing or intending to pursue postsecondary education/training.

Data Source: Department of Education

 

Updated 11/21/06

GRAPH - Public High School Graduates/Seniros Pursuing Post-Secondary Education

Why this is important:
A report issued in 2002 by the U.S. Census Bureau illustrates the economic value of an education. Adults ages 25-64 earned an average of $34,700 per year. Average earnings ranged from $18,900 for high school dropouts to $25,900 for high school graduates, $45,400 for college graduates, and $99,300 for workers with professional degrees. In information released by the Iowa Department of Workforce Development for 2002, the average hourly wage in Iowa for a person with less than a high school diploma was $9.81; with a high school diploma the rate was $13.66; postsecondary degree -- $16.30; and baccalaureate or graduate degree -- $25.97.

What we're doing about this:
The Department has initiated extensive high school reform efforts designed to make education at the high school level more rigorous and relevant and to better prepare students to be successful at the post secondary level. In addition, programs such as dual enrollment, and post-secondary enrollment options allow students to earn college credit while still in high school. In other examples, Project Lead the Way establishes strong partnerships among the public schools, higher education institutions and the private sector to increase the quantity and quality of engineers and create a seamless transition through the education system. High schools, community colleges, four-year institutions, and business and industry are also involved in biological sciences and biotech regional meetings to align the curriculum through the various sectors of the education system to develop the skills needed in the workplace.

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