Dordt College News

Grant awarded to Education Department

July 15, 2009

The education department at Dordt College has been awarded a $10,000 grant from the Iowa Department of Education. The funding will be used to integrate Iowa Core Curriculum into the teacher education program.

Iowa Core Curriculum was passed by the Iowa legislature in 2008. Partners across the state are working to implement it in high schools by 2012 and in elementary and middle schools by 2014.

Dordt’s education department has been involved in the process by participating in state meetings, and is currently rewriting course syllabi to tie in Core Curriculum criteria. The department has also revised student assessment methods, and is considering curriculum mapping to ensure there isn’t overlap or gaps in the curriculum for teacher education.

Professor of Education Dr. Dennis Vander Plaats says several of the goals of the Core Curriculum are very much in keeping with Dordt’s educational philosophy. “We are moving away from education as memorizing facts and listing those facts on tests. We want to provide students with insight that transforms their ability to serve the world,” says Vander Plaats.

New initiatives being emphasized within the Core Curriculum include:

1) A student-based approach instead of a course-based approach, with meaningful content that emphasizes 21st century civic, financial, technological, and health literacy skills.

2) Formative assessment that is much more extensive than grades written on report cards, to ensure deeper conceptual and procedural knowledge.

3) Differentiation, which means meeting the needs of all learners with a variety of teaching strategies that match the individual learners.

The education department at Dordt is the largest on campus, with 151 elementary education majors, 107 secondary education majors, and 50 graduate level students enrolled in 2008-09.

Media Access: Download Word Version