UbD is a way of thinking purposefully about curricular planning and school reform, a set of helpful design tools, and design standards -- not a program or recipe. The end goal of UbD is understanding and the ability to transfer learnings – to appropriately connect, make sense of, and use discrete knowledge and skills in context. Evidence of understanding is revealed through performance – when learners transfer knowledge and skills effectively, using one or more “facets” (explain, interpret, apply, shift perspective, empathize, and self-assess). Educators are coaches of understanding, not mere purveyors of content or activity. Planning is best done ”backward” from the desired results and the transfer tasks that embody the goals. UbD transforms Content Standards and other goals into focused learning targets based on “big ideas” and transfer tasks. Design Standards guide self-assessment and peer reviews of curriculum, instruction, and assessment for quality control. UbD reflects a “continuous improvement” approach to design and learning. The results of our curriculum designs (e.g., assessment results, quality of student work, degree of learner engagement) inform needed adjustments.
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