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Understanding Understanding


Understanding Understanding Dr. Robert Mayes University of Wyoming Science and Mathematics Teaching Center rmayes2_at_uwyo.edu * Understanding by Design Authors: Jay ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Understanding Understanding

Understanding Understanding
  • Dr. Robert Mayes
  • University of Wyoming
  • Science and Mathematics Teaching Center
  • rmayes2_at_uwyo.edu

Understanding by Design
  • Authors Jay McTighe and Grant Wiggins
  • ASCD materials Association for Supervision and
    Curriculum Development
  • Understanding by Design Handbook will serve as
    basis for many of our activities in assessment

Establishing Norms
  • Open-mindedness
  • Curiosity
  • Discovery
  • Sincerity
  • Brevity
  • Engagement
  • Connections

Understanding Understanding
  • Though we claim as teachers to be after
    understanding, we may not adequately understand
    our goal
  • Knowledge is different than Understanding
  • Knowledge can be rote correct beliefs
  • Understanding is fluid, transferable to new
    contexts, transformable into new theories -

Understanding Understanding
  • Was the banker a good teacher?
  • What characteristics of good teaching did he
  • What are common teaching design errors?
  • Activity-focused teaching
  • Coverage-focused teaching

Some basic terms
  • What is assessment versus evaluation?
  • What are standards versus objectives?
  • What does it mean to know versus understand?

Understanding Understanding
  • Understanding is difficult to measure
  • Teachers often satisfied with signs of apparent
    understanding such as performing an algorithm
  • Student misconceptions are persistent
  • High-stakes testing makes determining
    understanding more pressing
  • Cat and mouse game give students incentive to
    seem to understand what they are supposed to

Understanding Understanding
  • Attempts to teach for understanding must answer
  • If correct answers can offer inadequate or
    misleading evidence of understanding, or if good
    test results can hide misunderstanding, then what
    is genuine understanding?
  • How does genuine understanding manifest itself?
  • How can design more effectively and reliably
    reveal genuine understanding?

Understanding Understanding
  • Provide a definition of what understanding means
    to you
  • Bloom (1956) ability to marshal skills and facts
    wisely and appropriately, through effective
    application, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation
  • Wiggins and McTighe (2005) 6 facets of
  • perform - explain, interpret, apply
  • gain insight perspective, empathize,

Cognitive Science and Understanding
  • Transfer applying facts and skills in novel
  • Pattern recognition
  • Enduring understandings are the basis of transfer
  • Metacognition self-assessment, self-awareness,
  • 3 pathologies of mislearning are amnesia (we
    forget), fantasia (we dont understand that we
    dont understand), and inertia (we are unable to
    use what we learn)

Cognitive Science and Understanding
  • Misconceptions (buggy literature) mapping of a
    working idea in a plausible but incorrect way in
    a new situation consistent error
  • Conceptual Benchmarks must understand the
    likelihood that big ideas will be misconceived
  • Expert Blind Spot if it teach it, they will
    learn it basis in Piaget concept of

Six Facets of Understanding
  • 3 Facets represent performances one with
    understanding can do
  • Explain provide thorough, supported, and
    justifiable accounts of phenomena, facts, and
    data (theoretical, explain why)
  • Interpret tell meaningful stories, offer apt
    translations, provide revealing historical or
    personal dimension to ideas and events,
    (personal, what does it mean to me)
  • Apply effectively use and adapt what one knows
    in diverse contexts (pragmatic, how can I use it)

Six Facets of Understanding
  • 3 Facets represent types of insights one has
  • Perspective see points of view through critical
    eyes and ears, see the big picture
    (dispassionate, whose point of view)
  • Empathize find value in what others might find
    odd, alien, or implausible, perceive sensitivity
    on the basis of prior direct experience
    (passionate, what are you feeling)
  • Self-knowledge perceive personal style,
    prejudices, projections, and habits of mind that
    both shape and impede ones own understanding, be
    aware of what one does not understand
    (introspective, my prejudices)

Backward Design Process
  • Backward design can be thought of as
  • Purposeful task analysis Given a task to be
    accomplished, how does one get there?
  • Planned Coaching What kinds of lessons and
    practices are needed to master key performances?

Backward Design Process
  • Typical Teacher Design
  • Begin with text, favorite lesson, time honored
  • Derive targeted goals and standards
  • Backward Design
  • Begin with desired result (goal or standard)
  • Derive curriculum based on the evidence of
  • Think like an assessor begin with a question,
    operationalize goals or standards in terms of

Backward Design Process
  • Three Stages of Backward Design (HO 6 page UbD
    Unit Template)

Stage 1 Identify desired results
Stage 2 Determine acceptable evidence
Stage 3 Plan learning experiences and instruction
Backward Design Process
  • Stage 1 Identify Desired Results
  • Consider goals
  • Examine content standards
  • Review curriculum expectations
  • More content than can be covered so we are
    obliged to make choices
  • What should students know, understand and be able
    to do?
  • What is worthy of understanding?
  • What enduring understandings are desired?

Backward Design Process
  • Stage 2 Determine Acceptable Evidence
  • Think like an assessor consider up front, How
    we will determine if students have attained
    desired understanding
  • Consider a range of assessment methods
  • Performance tasks to measure understanding
  • Traditional assessments (quizzes, tests) to
    assess essential knowledge and skills
    contributing to performance
  • Self-assessment and peer-assessment

Backward Design Process
  • Stage 3 Plan Learning Experience and Instruction
  • Specifics of instructional planning occur after
    desired results and assessments are identified
  • Key Questions
  • What enabling knowledge and skills will students
    need to perform effectively and achieve desired
  • What activities will equip students with the
    needed knowledge and skills?

Backward Design Process
  • Stage 3 Plan Learning Experience and Instruction
  • Key Questions
  • What will need to be taught and coached, and how
    should it best be taught, in light of performance
  • What materials and resources are best suited to
    accomplish these goals?
  • Is the overall design coherent and effective?

  • Dr. Robert Mayes
  • University of Wyoming
  • Science and Mathematics Teaching Center
  • rmayes2_at_uwyo.edu
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