Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Understanding by Design” as Want to Read:
Understanding by Design
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

Understanding by Design

3.86 of 5 stars 3.86  ·  rating details  ·  774 ratings  ·  78 reviews
What is understanding and how does it differ from knowing? What do we want students to understand and be able to do? What enduring knowledge is worth understanding? How will we know that students truly understand and can apply knowledge in a meaningful way? How can we design our courses and units to emphasize understanding and "uncoverage" rather than "coverage"? Understan ...more
Paperback, 201 pages
Published October 25th 1998 by Association for Supervision & Curriculum Development (first published October 1st 1998)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Understanding by Design, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Understanding by Design

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,440)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Philip
As a rule, if I review a book, I read every word of the book. There have been a few exceptions (this brings the total up to 4, I believe...)

There was a lot of good content in this one. The concept is pretty solid, and I think most teachers are using Backward Design by now. I remember learning about it in my undergrad methods courses, but it wasn't nearly as in depth as it was here.

Basically, as the title implies - you start with what you want kids to know, and develop the curriculum from there.
...more
Garrett Zecker
Understanding by Design is a technical publication for building curriculum using the backward design process. This book helps instructors support their work by implementing Essential Questions so that a course can be built around the end result and focused on understanding rather than milestones and tasks. It is a pretty basic lesson planning guide – almost a 101 for teachers of anything. It lacks a few fundamental ideas, such as using taxonomy as a basis for questioning, but I think that the bo ...more
DWRL Library
Wiggins offers ideas for designing curriculum to engage students in exploring and deepening their understanding of important ideas, and creating assessments that reveal the extent of their understanding. This is not a step-by-step guide on how to design a course, but rather a conceptual framework and design process. It offers a way of thinking about your course, but does not offer individual lesson plans.

I read the book at the same time I was putting together my 309K proposal, and found it very
...more
Kelley
This book covers an eminently critical topic in contemporary education practice -- developing curriculum that covers all the essential concepts in a course in an engaging and measurably effective manner. Wiggins and McTighe expertly present a lot of great material, both theoretical and practical to help teachers, administrators, schools, and districts to develop their own Understanding by Design units. No serious educator should be able to walk away from this book with nothing new to add to thei ...more
Mark Feltskog
When I was a forklift operator, I topped out in terms of skill pretty quickly. And one need only receive one or two truckloads of any kind of merchandise to master the warehouse worker's skills. One of the great things about being a teacher, for me, is that it is a career that offers virtually endless opportunities to improve as a practitioner; it is, therefore, never boring. Grant P. Wiggins and Jay McTighe's Understanding by Design is in all respects a guide to keep one's teaching career stimu ...more
Henry Wijaya
Mar 19, 2013 Henry Wijaya rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: teachers
Recommended to Henry by: Professor Lesley Bartlett
It is a great book for teachers to help them evaluate what they have been doing in their teaching works. Reading this book makes me revisit all works that I have done related to the actual teaching in the classroom, my preparation before that, and my follow up after that. Furthermore, it also makes me rethink about curriculum design and material development.
It is scary to think how easy it is for a teacher to design a curriculum, develop the materials, teach the students, and evaluate the outcom
...more
Mary
This thing is such an institution at Teachers College we use UbD as a verb. As in, "Did you UbD this novel yet?"

Yeah.

But I certainly can't think of a better way to plan than the approach so laboriously extolled in this tome. It's a smart, methodical way to make truly rigorous curricula that demand authentic learning, not coverage or cute performance tasks. And I'd say it's worth it to give the opening chapters a thorough read. Most teachers only get a forced march through the UbD Workbook tem
...more
Alyssa Shepherd
Companion to the workbook. This is the nuts and bolts of the planning. However, you need to see if you can get the school headed in this direction. It doesn't help the school if you are the only one backwards designing. It will help your classroom, but think Macro, and how this will help all of the children in your sphere of influence.
Kimiamqa
This book was assigned for a graduate Information Literacy course I took for my Master's in Library Science program. I thought it was a smart choice for an info lit book since it is not a "library science" course book. I have fifteen years teaching experience and I learned new and fresh ideas from this book for developing lessons using the authors' backward design process. I had been using a version of backward design for many years now, especially for teaching conversational English and recentl ...more
محمد النجيمي
It's good to read such a book that cares so much about understanding and the importance of backword design. There are lots of examples that explain different stages of planning and facets of understanding and components of performance task. All that is helpful in clarifying the concept and application.
Jan Michael
Trains one how to design powerful unit lessons using the latest trends in pedagogy. Combining constructivist, project-based, problem-based, metacognitive strategies, the book ensures that any educator creates a learner-centred classroom. Drift is, one's understanding is designed.
Komal
Even if you ultimately decide that "backwards design" is not for you, this book is still worth reading. Lucid and well explained. I particularly appreciated the distinction made between knowledge and understanding.
Jmswtsn
Somewhat thick verbiage makes it a little hard to read, but the main point of the book is about a more effective way to teach current curriculum to students and the basic premise should be fairly obvious to anyone who teaches regularly - you think about the learning outcome and devise essential questions and discussion points to get students to your level of understanding of a topic.

Helpful in working through a unit of instruction, but not something aimed at the larger questions of why do we eve
...more
Carol
Interesting academic read. Backwards design is something that many people I think have been doing but not to the detail the Wiggins describes it in. I used the design for my new Catcher unit and I like were it has taken me. I feel more confident in why I am teaching what I am teaching, and that makes it easier to explain to my students. The only problem is how time consuming it can be to revamp a unit, especially during the school year. Naturally teachers do not get nearly enough time to accompl ...more
Shayneswift
I read this as part of a digital book club for teachers but purchased the PD workbook and essential questions book as well. I think this is extremely helpful in supporting laser-focused teaching with respect to student outcomes.
Vicky Kennard
Easy to read and has done good stuff that all teachers should know and use
Jacinda
A useful book for backward design, but incredibly redundant.
Dave
There is no better book for curriculum design and deployment. I came to the party late, considering my old unit designs to be extraordinary. Oh how wrong was I. The key however comes in that my old aligned plans and units were the best teachers can be expected to do without the added piece of time. To create units and instruction from this model you have to have lots of it. I'm blessed to have it now in my new position, but until PLCs can address the time issue, we won't see more than pockets of ...more
Jay Salikin
Feb 20, 2011 Jay Salikin is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
Three stages of backward design:

1. Identify desired results (To what extent does the design focus on the big ideas of targeted content?)
2. Determine acceptable evidence (To what extent do the assessments provide fair, valid, reliable, and sufficient measures of the desired results?)
3. Plan learning experiences and instruction (To what extent is the learning plan effective and engaging)

To what extent is the entire unit coherent, with the elements of all three stages aligned?
Debra S
No rating as I didn't actually read this title. I skimmed it. I think I picked up the first edition and was actually looking for the 2nd edition. I saw a presentation on library instruction design based on the principles of Wiggins and McTighe. The presentation was assume. Lots of good ideas on what you can and can't accomplish. Big plug for backward planning.

Still think I will ferret out the 2nd edition at some point, but will probably skim it as well. :-)
Dryfly
I love this book. The overall idea gives a strong path towards success. Coming from an engineering/ISO/quality system background, much of the ideas in UdD are somewhat familiar with me. I've already taken the ideas of Enduring Understandings and Essential Questions, and applied them to some units. You can also see the impact and influence of this book on new curriculum design, from new AP courses to curriculum changes in my home province of BC.
James Purkis Purkis
While I had been working with UBD before I read this book, I found this detailed and full of good advice for implementing "teaching for understanding". While I found sections dense to read, it was worth trudging through these sections to get to the nub of what the writers were saying. This new way to approach my lessons has been transforming my teaching over the past year and this book helped reinforce the ideas I have been implementing.
Jason
Man, is this a thick read. Just tough to get through, but it does give a fantastic method for planning units in the classroom. Its suggestions are unbeliveably time consuming, but if you could do one or two units a year, your students learning would improve exponentially. I found it exceptionally helpful to work through this book with my grad school cohort. I'd suggest that you have a group of people with which to struggle through the concepts.
Tracy
This was by far the best book assigned in my Master of Education coursework so far, and one which will stay on my bookshelf. This book reframes lesson planning by focusing on learning objectives and then using the "backwards design" approach to design learning experiences and assessments that are truly made to get the student where they need to be. It will be useful for educators working in the classroom at any level, K-16.
Burke
This was the cornerstone of my masters degree and still the most sensible step-by-step approach to curriculum development I've read. While much of what I've encountered more recently has challenged things that this method takes for granted, it counteracts many harmful/wasteful commonplaces of teaching and proposes a curriculum design method that puts students' enduring understanding front and center.
Nathalie
I really like the teaching. . .hm, design, I suppose, proposed in this book. It was a book I needed to read for class, but I think I'd read it again, just because this is the way I learn (by understanding) so the whole backwards design makes complete sense to me. I think it's a good book to have in your library if you're a teacher, and I'll be keeping this one to look at again.
Cara
It wasn't until a few chapters into this book that I really grasped the instructional design technique the authors promote here. However, once I understood how everything fit together it gave me a whole new perspective on teaching. The authors provide step-by-step materials for lesson planning that show how to implement their design structure.
Molly
I tried to read this book one summer, only got halfway through by the time school started, and have given up for now. It seems great, but I think it's better used before/during/after attending an Understanding by Design workshop or at least with a team of teachers co-planning units. It's just kind of too much to digest on your own with no support.
Erinn
Okay, at first read, I love the idea. I think any district willing to adopt it in its entirety would be bold and progressive. I'm just not sure any district will. I fear there would be exceptions, quid pro quo, and ultimately, double standards. I'll read on and try to imagine the philosophy in practice a little more.
Larissa
Aug 17, 2007 Larissa rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: educators
A great approach to unit planning and design. As I was reading this the other day, I happened upon an example that could have only come from the St. John's Program. So, I looked at the author bios and was pleased to discover that one of the authors is indeed a Johnnie. No wonder everything I read seemed to sound vaguely familiar...
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 47 48 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Integrating Differentiated Instruction and Understanding by Design: Connecting Content and Kids
  • Classroom Instruction That Works: Research-based Strategies for Increasing Student Achievement
  • In the Middle: New Understandings about Writing, Reading, and Learning
  • How People Learn: Brain, Mind, Experience, and School
  • Curriculum 21: Essential Education for a Changing World
  • The English Teacher's Companion: A Complete Guide to Classroom, Curriculum, and the Profession
  • When Kids Can't Read-What Teachers Can Do: A Guide for Teachers 6-12
  • Enhancing Professional Practice: A Framework for Teaching
  • Strategies That Work: Teaching Comprehension to Enhance Understanding
  • How Learning Works: Seven Research-Based Principles for Smart Teaching
  • Deeper Reading: Comprehending Challenging Texts, 4-12
  • I Read It, but I Don't Get It: Comprehension Strategies for Adolescent Readers
  • Fair Isn't Always Equal: Assessing & Grading in the Differentiated Classroom
  • The Skillful Teacher: Building Your Teaching Skills
  • 6 + 1 Traits of Writing: The Complete Guide: Grades 3 & Up: Everything You Need to Teach and Assess Student Writing With This Powerful Model
  • Guiding Readers and Writers: Teaching Comprehension, Genre, and Content Literacy
  • Words Their Way: Word Study for Phonics, Vocabulary, and Spelling Instruction, [Book, CD & DVD]
  • Subjects Matter
The Understanding by Design Guide to Creating High-Quality Units Schooling by Design: Mission, Action, and Achievement The Complete Step-By-Step Guide to Designing and Teaching Online Courses Educative Assessment: Designing Assessments to Inform and Improve Student Performance Prentice Hall Literature: The British Tradition

Share This Book