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Understanding by Design

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  1. Understanding by Design the ‘big ideas’ of UbD

  2. 1. Identify desired results 2. Determine acceptable evidence 3. Plan learning experiences & instruction 3 Stages of (“Backward”) Design

  3. Why “backward”? • The stages are logical but they go against habits • We’re used to jumping to lesson and activity ideas - before clarifying our performance goals for students • By thinking through the assessments upfront, we ensure greater alignment of our goals and means, and that teaching is focused on desired results

  4. Unit Template Overarching understandings Essential Questions Knowledge and skill to be acquired Understanding by Design Template: the basis of Exchange • The ubd template embodies the 3 stages of “Backward Design” • The template provides an easy mechanism for exchange of ideas

  5. Standard(s): Unpack the content standards and ‘content’,focus on big ideas Understandings Essential Questions s t a g e 1 Assessment Evidence Performance T ask(s): Other Evidence: s Analyze multiple sources of evidence, aligned with Stage 1 t a g e 2 Derive the implied learning from Stages 1 & 2 Learning Activities s t a g e 3 The “big ideas” of each stage: What are the big ideas? What’s the evidence? How will we get there?

  6. Each element is found behind a menu tab when designing units Stage 1 Stage 2 Stage 3 L Learning Plan U Understandings T Task(s) R Questions Rubric(s) Q Content Standards OE Other Evidence CS Knowledge & Skill K

  7. 1. Identify desired results 3. Plan learning experiences & instruction 3 Stages of Design, elaborated 2. Determine acceptable evidence

  8. Stage 1 – Identify desired results. • Key: Focus on Big ideas • Enduring Understandings: What specific insights about big ideas do we want students to leave with? • What essential questions will frame the teaching and learning, pointing toward key issues and ideas, and suggest meaningful and provocative inquiry into content? • What should students know and be able to do? • What content standards are addressed explicitly by the unit? U Q K CS

  9. The “big idea” of Stage 1: • There is a clear focus in the unit • on the big ideas • Implications: • Organize content around key concepts • Show how the big ideas offer a purpose and rationale for the student • You will need to “unpack” Content standards in many cases to make the implied big ideas clear

  10. From Big Ideas to Understandings about them U • An understanding is a • “moral of the story” about the big ideas • What specific insights will students take away about the the meaning of ‘content’ via big ideas? • Understandings summarize the desired insights we want students to realize

  11. Understanding, defined: They are... • specific generalizations about the “big ideas.” They summarize the key meanings, inferences, and importance of the ‘content’ • deliberately framed as a full sentence “moral of the story” – “Students will understand THAT…” • Require “uncoverage”because they are not “facts” to the novice, but unobvious inferences drawn from facts - counter-intuitive & easily misunderstood

  12. Understandings: examples... U • Great artists often break with conventions to better express what they see and feel. • Price is a function of supply and demand. • Friendships can be deepened or undone by hard times • History is the story told by the “winners” • F = ma (weight is not mass) • Math models simplify physical relations – and even sometimes distort relations – to deepen our understanding of them • The storyteller rarely tells the meaning of the story

  13. Knowledge vs. Understanding • An understanding is an unobvious and important inference, needing “uncoverage” in the unit; knowledge is a set of established “facts”. • Understandings make sense of facts, skills, and ideas: they tell us what our knowledge means; they‘connect the dots’ • Any understandings are inherently fallible “theories”; knowledge consists of the accepted “facts” upon which a “theory” is based and the “facts” which a “theory” yields.

  14. Essential Questions Q • What questions – • are arguable - and important to argue about? • are at the heart of the subject? • recur - and should recur - in professional work, adult life, as well as in classroom inquiry? • raise more questions – provoking and sustaining engaged inquiry? • often raise important conceptual or philosophical issues? • can provide organizing purpose for meaningful & connected learning?

  15. Essential - STAGE 1 Asked to be argued Designed to “uncover” new ideas, views, lines of argument Set up inquiry, heading to new understandings Leading - STAGE 3 Asked as a reminder, to prompt recall Designed to “cover” knowledge Point to a single, straightforward fact - a rhetorical question Essential vs. “leading” Q’s used in teaching (Stage 3)

  16. Sample Essential Questions: Q • Who are my true friends - and how do I know for sure? • How “rational” is the market? • Does a good read differ from a ‘great book’? Why are some books fads, and others classics? • To what extent is geography destiny? • Should an axiom be obvious? • How different is a scientific theory from a plausible belief? • What is the government’s proper role?

  17. 1. Identify desired results 2. Determine acceptable evidence 3. Plan learning experiences & instruction 3 Stages of Design: Stage 2

  18. Stage 2 – Assessment Evidence • Template fields ask: • What are key complex performance tasks indicative of understanding? • What other evidence will be collected to build the case for understanding, knowledge, and skill? • What rubrics will be used to assess complex performance? T OE R

  19. The big ideafor Stage 2 • The evidence should be credible & helpful. • Implications: the assessments should – • Be grounded in real-world applications, supplemented as needed by more traditional school evidence • Provide useful feedback to the learner, be transparent, and minimize secrecy • Be valid, reliable - aligned with the desired results of Stage 1 (and fair)

  20. Just because the student “knows it” … • Evidence of understanding is a greater challenge than evidence that the student knows a correct or valid answer • Understanding is inferred, not seen • It can only be inferred if we see evidence that the student knows why (it works) so what? (why it matters), how (to apply it) – not just knowing that specific inference

  21. Assessment of Understanding via the 6 facets • i.e. You really understand when you can: • explain, connect, systematize, predict it • show its meaning, importance • apply or adapt it to novel situations • see it as one plausible perspective among others, question its assumptions • see it as its author/speaker saw it • avoid and point out common misconceptions, biases, or simplistic views

  22. Scenarios for Authentic Tasks T • Build assessments anchored in authentic tasks using GRASPS: • What is the Goal in the scenario? • What is the Role? • Who is the Audience? • What is your Situation (context)? • What is the Performance challenge? • By what Standards will work be judged in the scenario? G R A S P S

  23. Reliability: Snapshot vs. Photo Album • We need patterns that overcome inherent measurement error • Sound assessment (particularly of State Standards) requires multiple evidence over time - a photo album vs. a single snapshot

  24. For Reliability & Sufficiency:Use a Variety of Assessments • Varied types, over time: • authentic tasks and projects • academic exam questions, prompts, and problems • quizzes and test items • informal checks for understanding • student self-assessments

  25. Some key understandings about assessment • The local assessment is direct; the state assessment is indirect (an audit of local work) • It is therefore always unwise to merely mimic the state’s assessment approaches • The only way to assess for understanding is via contextualized performance - “applying” in the broadest sense our knowledge and skill, wisely and effectively • Performance is more than the sum of the drills: using only conventional quizzes and tests is insufficient and as misleading as relying only on sideline drills to judge athletic performance ability

  26. 1. Identify desired results 3. Plan learning experiences & instruction 3 Stages of Design: Stage 3 2. Determine acceptable evidence

  27. E F F E C T I V E E N GAGING and Stage 3 big idea:

  28. Stage 3 – Plan Learning Experiences & Instruction • A focus on engagingandeffective learning, “designed in” • What learning experiences and instruction will promote the desired understanding, knowledge and skill of Stage 1? • How will the design ensure that all students are maximally engaged and effective at meeting the goals? L

  29. Think of your obligations via W. H. E. R. E. T. O. L W • “Where are we headed?” (the student’s Q!) • How will the student be ‘hooked’? • What opportunities will there be to be equipped, and to experience and explore key ideas? • What will provide opportunities to rethink, rehearse, refine and revise? • How will students evaluate their work? • How will the work be tailored to individual needs, interests, styles? • How will the work be organized for maximal engagement and effectiveness? H E R E T O

  30. Note that some fields require you to enter one idea at a time • One idea per box allows for more powerful searching, selecting, and attaching to units when you browse • Essential questions • Enduring understandings • Tasks of complex performance • Rubrics • Also: makes expert reviewer assignment of “blue ribbons” more precise Q U T R

  31. Help in the Exchange about all template design elements • Get to know the icons! • A summary of each field • Examples for each field • A self-test of your understanding for that field • FAQ’s and Glossary • A special unit in which each field is explained: click the icon for UBD TEMPLATE • Web links to resources for that field Q √ ? Ubd template

  32. for further information... • Contact us: • Grant Wiggins, co-author: grant@ubdexchange.org • Jay McTighe, co-author: jmctigh@aol.com • Steve Petti, webmaster: steve@newimagemedia.com