Understanding By Design Framework

Friel, Holly
McTighe, J. & Wiggins, G. Understanding By Design Framework. ASCD (Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development). Retrieved from
This Understanding By Design (UBD) introduction provides an overview of the guiding principles behind this pedagogical framework, the six facets of understanding, and the three-stage design process.  First, UBD is informed by two main principles: 1) “Focus on teaching and assessing for understanding and learning transfer,” and 2) Backwards planning (start planning process with learning goals rather than starting with the learning activities). Secondly, the six facets of understanding include “the capacity to explain, interpret, apply, shift perspective, empathize, and self-assess.” Finally, UBD’s three-step process for lesson or unit planning includes: 1) Identify desired results, 2) Determine assessment evidence, and 3) Plan learning experiences and instruction.   
I found this guide helpful in providing background on UBD.  Identification of learning goals and essential questions at the start of the planning process can help to shape a deeper learning experience for students.   I also appreciate that the assessments are not just tests, as there are so many other ways that students can demonstrate understanding or mastery of a subject.  This guide includes a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section which provides ideas for implementation of the UBD framework in different disciplines. 

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