An Evaluation of the Authentic Intellectual Work Initiative in Iowa

Eric Camburn and Peter Steiner are evaluating Iowa’s Authentic Intellectual Work (AIW), program, a novel, comprehensive, state-level initiative that provides students with rigorous and relevant learning experiences that align with Common Core State Standards.

AIW is designed to influence student academic performance by first changing instruction. Teachers participate in meetings in which they collaborate to use detailed rubrics to analyze and score assignments, student work, and their teaching lessons. They then apply what they learn and alter their instruction.

Substantial empirical evidence suggests the potential efficacy of the program, and teacher and student components of the program are strongly grounded in contemporary learning theory.

Given the nation’s emphasis on more intellectually demanding instruction through initiatives like the Common Core State Standards, the lessons learned from this four-year study will be valuable not only for the insight they shed on this particular state program, but more generally and importantly, for how state and local agencies and schools can foster more intellectually demanding instruction that promotes student engagement and academic learning that is aligned with the standards.


Completed on June 30, 2019