Backward Design April 2

The mere imparting of information is not education. Above all
things, the effort must result in helping a person think and do for
Carter G. Woodson
What is the primary goal in my course?
• Cover the basic material
• Impart new discipline knowledge
• Facilitate student learning
• Ensure student success
• Other
Traditional course design…
• Content coverage
• Activity centered
• Not always clear connection to desired learning outcomes
or larger understanding
Traditional course design
 Choose text
 Identify chapters to be covered
 Develop lectures or labs
 Create exams
Understanding by Design
• Wiggins and McTighe
• Represents BIG ideas with value beyond the classroom
• Requires “uncoverage”
• “Backward Design” - key
• Engages students
Understanding by Design –
Why Bother?
• Focus on what you want students to achieve
• Move away from “coverage”
• Improve student and faculty engagement
• Connect course outcomes, assessments, and activities
• Facilitates mapping of course outcomes and student
assessment to program, department, and institution –
level goals
Understanding by Design by Grant Wiggins
Two Big Ideas of Understanding by Design Jay McTighe
Backward Design
Identify Desired Results
Determine Acceptable Evidence
Plan Learning Experiences
Stage 1: Identify the Desired Results
• Outcomes
Program, course, unit
Learning Outcomes
What will my students know?
What will my students be able to do?
What will my students be to understand/appreciate?
Identifying Key Ideas
Big-picture knowledge, allows
One to find and retrieve information
Prerequisites for success
Students will know long after
the class ends
Something to think about….
Course Outcomes
Concepts and issues
- What must the student understand to demonstrate the intended
Process skills
-What skills must the student master to
demonstrated the intended outcomes?
Key Ideas….
Choose a course.
Identify what is…
worth being familiar with
important to know and do
enduring understandings
Stage 1: Identify the desired results
(based on Understanding by Design by Grant Wiggins
and Jay McTighe)
Learning Outcomes
• What relevant goals (eg. course outcomes) will this design address?
Q Essential Questions:
Students will understand that ….
• What are the big ideas?
• What specific understandings about
them are desired?
• What misunderstandings are
Students will know…
What key knowledge and skills will the
student acquire as a result of the this
What should they eventually be able to
do as a result of such knowledge and
What provocative question will foster
inquiry, understanding, and transfer of
Students will be able to…
Stage 2:
Determine Acceptable Evidence
How will you know if students have achieved the desired
results and met the expectations?
What will you accept as evidence of student understanding
and proficiency?
What is evidence of in-depth understanding as opposed to
superficial or naïve understanding?
What kinds of assessment evidence will anchor units and
guide instruction?
To what extent do the assessments provide fair,
valid, reliable, and sufficient measured of the
desired results?
Fair allow for students of both genders and
all backgrounds to do equally well.
Valid an indication of how well an assessment actually
measures what it is supposed to measure
Reliable an indication of the consistency of scores
across evaluators or over time
essay or paper
Plan a range of assessment
give students opportunities to demonstrate that understanding
balance use
performance tasks
quizzes and tests
student self-assessment
must support students in developing understanding
authentic learning tasks
Stage 2 – Assessment Evidence
Performance Tasks:
• Through what authentic
performance tasks will students
demonstrate the desired
• By what criteria will performance of
understanding be judged
Other Evidence:
• Through what other evidence (eg.
quizzes, tests, observations,
reading response) will students
demonstrate achievement of the
desired results?
• How will students reflect upon and
self-assess their learning?
Rubrics 1
Rubric 2
Co-Constructing Criteria
What makes a “good” oral presentation?
List one attribute per sticky note.
When complete put sticky notes on designated
chart paper.
• With your partners, group attributes
• Title each category.
• Share your categories and their content
with the large group.
Stage 3:
Plan Learning Experiences
“ Beyond learning about a subject, students will need
lessons that enable them to experience directly the
inquiries, arguments, applications, and points of view
underneath the facts and opinions they learn if they are to
understand them.”
(Source: Understanding Design by Grant Wiggins & Jay
McTighe, p. 99)
The learning experience requires students to:
“Theorize, interpret, use, or see in perspective what they
are asked to learn…(or) they will not likely understand it or
grasp that their job is more than recall.”
Source: Understanding Design by Grant Wiggins & Jay
McTighe, p. 99
Rich Learning Experiences
• Role-play
• Project based
• Problem-based
• Practicums
• Case studies
• Simulations
• Dramatizations
• Service learning
• Situational
Authentic Learning
Authenthtic Learning Assessment
Backward Design
Identify Desired Results
Determine Acceptable Evidence
Plan Learning Experiences
What are the advantages of Understanding
By Design approach to program, course,
and unit development?
What are the challenges of implementing an
Understanding By Design approach?
Additional thoughts, comments….
is not filling a pail,
but the lighting of a fire.”
-William Butler Yeats