Grant Wiggins, lead author of Understand
By Design, claims that teachers engage in designing
and redesigning all of the time. Hear are some of those
1. Although most teachers do not have the time to create
whole curricula from scratch, they regularly adapt
and redesign textbook activities to
meet the particular needs of a particular group of student.
2. Teachers continually devise tests
and create assessments.
Wiggins also describes how important assessment is
in designing activities. He calls this a backward
design process because typically teachers go
about finding an interesting activity and then asking,
almost as an after-thought, "Now what and how should
I assess students' use of this?"
In MOVIE 1, Grant walks us through the three stages
of an "activity designer" (page 68), where
the first, critical stage involves asking "What
are the key learning results I want students to achieve?"
Here teachers focus on understanding rather than memorizing,
and using "essential questions" to unify a
set of lessons. The next stage involves deciding what
student product or performancewould count as "convincing
evidence" that effective learning has taken place.
Only then do teachers and curriculum designers, working
backwards, select materials or create activities that
will support students in reaching these goals.
Wiggins describes the three-stage backward design process
(page 14-19) as follows:
- Identifying Results (what key ideas and skills do I want
my students to leave with)
- Determining What Is Acceptable Evidence (what products/performances
are convincing evidence of learning)
- Planning Learning Experiences, Activities and Instruction
that will produce that performance or evidence