Understanding by design

Record in your learning journal the stages of UbD and add a short description for each.

Planning is best done “backward” from the desired results and the transfer tasks that embody the goals. The 3 Stages (Desired Results, Evidence, Learning Plan) must align for the unit to be most effective.

Stage One: Desired results

Establish your goals alongside the content standards, course and objectives.

Ask : “What is worthy and requiring of understanding, what are the big ideas and which questions will foster inquiry, understanding and learning?

“What will students know as a result? Gained? Students will be able to …”

Therefore, Stage One makes sure “that our learning goals are framed in terms of important accomplishments reflective of understanding 2.The goal of understanding has two connotations: 1) making meaning of big ideas, and 2) autonomous transfer of learning to new situations” (McTighe, 2016).

Stage Two: Assessment evidence

How will students show these learnings and understandings? What performances and products will reveal evidence of meaning-making and transfer? What additional evidence will be collected for other Desired Results?

Through performance tasks and other evidence like tests, homework, journals, self-reflection and assessment.

Stage Three: Learning Plan

What activities, experiences, and lessons will enable students to lead to achieve the desired results and success at the assessments? How will the learning plan help students of Acquisition, Meaning Making, and Transfer? How will the unit be sequenced and differentiated to optimise achievement for all learners?

Also worth noting is that UbD recognises that:

  • Understanding is revealed when students autonomously transfer their learning through authentic performance. “Six facets of understanding – the capacity to explain, interpret, apply, shift perspective, empathize, and self assess – serve as indicators of understanding”.
  • Teachers are coaches of understanding, not mere purveyors of content or activity. They design for and support “meaning making” and “transfer” by the learner; and adjust to achieve intended results.
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