The following list provides titles for workshops offered by Jay McTighe. Workshops can be customized to address particular outcomes, specific audiences and varied contexts.

Contact Jay to discuss options. Click on each workshop title for a description.

Assessment and Common Core Standards

Time Frame: 1-2 days

Target Audience:

Teachers, curriculum leaders and administrators at all levels

Workshop Description: The new Common Core State Standards (CCSS) have established priorities that are meant to guide the development of local curricula to help teachers center their instruction around a smaller number of conceptually larger ideas and transferable processes. The CCSS focus on College and Career readiness could not be clearer: the long term goal of schooling is to develop learners with the capacity to apply their learning to novel situations without prompting or handholding by teachers. To honor the intent and emphases of these new standards, local assessment practices must evolve. No longer will multiple-choice tests of factual knowledge and basic skills serve as adequate measures.

In this session, we’ll consider the implications of the Common Core Standards for local (classroom and district) assessments. More specificially, we will:

  • examine the characteristics of a balanced assessment system
  • unpack the Common Core Standards to identify the needed assessment evidence
  • review an assessment planning framework to guide design of local assessments
  • apply practical and proven tools and templates for designing performance assessments and rubrics aligned to the CCSS
  • view specific formative assessment techniques for enhancing learning and performance
  • preview a set of supportive web-based resources

Essential Questions – Doorways to Understanding

Time Frame: 3 hours – 1 day

Target Audience:
Teachers and administrators at all levels

Workshop Description: If the content in the textbook represents the “answers”, then what were the questions that led to that content knowledge in the first place? How do we “uncover” the key ideas of a topic, not just skim (cover) the surface? How do we make education an “itch, not a scratch”? A good essential question serves as a doorway for engaging student inquiry in “uncovering” the curriculum. In this workshop, we will explore the characteristics of such questions and examine ideas for generating them. Numerous examples of essential questions in various subject areas will be provided.

Understanding by Design®: The Logic of Backward Design

Time Frame: Keynote Address or 2 hour

Target Audience:

Teachers and administrators at all levels

Workshop Description: Why are the best curriculum designs planned “backward?” We will examine the logic of backward design and review a three-stage model for developing units and assessments that focus on developing and deepening students’ understanding of important ideas. We’ll also examine electronic curriculum design Templates and view UbD-supportive Internet websites for “working smarter” in curriculum and assessment design.

Introduction to Understanding by Design®

Time Frame: 3-6 hours

Target Audience:
Teachers and administrators at all levels

Workshop Description: What is understanding and how does it differ from “knowing?” How do we “unpack” content standards to identify the important ‘big ideas’ that we want students to understand? How will we know that students truly understand and can apply their knowledge in a meaningful way? How might we design our courses and units to emphasize understanding rather than “coverage”? What instructional practices are both engaging and effective for developing student understanding? How are Design Standards used to improve the quality of curriculum and assessment designs? In this introductory workshop, participants will explore these questions through a series of thought-provoking examples and exercises.

Understanding by Design®: Tools and Templates for Designers

Time Frame: 2-3 days

Target Audience:
Educators at all levels interested in enhancing their design of curriculum, assessment and instruction focused on enhancing student understanding

Workshop Description:Participants will use the tools and templates of Understanding by Design to create or refine a unit of study. More specifically, we will:

  • review a “backward design” model for the development of curriculum, assessment and instruction;
  • apply criteria for selecting curriculum priorities and determining content worthy of deep understanding;
  • use essential questions to frame curriculum and focus on “big ideas”;
  • examine a continuum of assessment methods to use in assessing the degree of student understanding;
  • explore six “facets” of understanding and their implication for curriculum, assessment, and teaching;
  • apply selected design tools to create design performances of understanding based on the six “facets”
  • apply the W.H.E.R.E.T.O. framework to design engaging and effective instruction;
  • access the resources of the ubdexchange.org web site;
  • participate in a structured peer review process for giving and receiving feedback based on Design Standards

Note: Since this workshop involves curriculum design, participants should bring materials (e.g., content standards, textbooks, resource materials, assessments, scoring rubrics, etc.) to support their design work.

Understanding By Design® and Differentiation: Connecting Content and Kids

Time Frame: 2-3 days

Target Audience:
Teachers and administrators at all levels

Workshop Description: In this workshop, we will explore the following questions:  Can differentiation and standards really co-exist? How can we address required content standards yet remain responsive to the differences and varied needs of our students? How does the “backward design” approach to curriculum planning inform differentiation (and vice-versa)? What’s do we want all students to come to understand? How might we responsibly differentiate student assessments and still obtain valid measures of learning? Can we maintain standards without standardization? How might a grading and reporting system communicate standards-based achievement honestly and fairly? Session Topics:

  • how does the “backward design” approach to curriculum planning;
  • inform differentiation of instruction and assessment (and vice-versa);
  • apply criteria for selecting curriculum priorities and determining content worthy of deep understanding;
  • apply criteria for selecting curriculum priorities and determining content worth understanding;
  • use essential questions to frame curriculum and focus on “big ideas”;
  • examine a continuum of assessment methods to use in assessing the degree of student understanding;
  • explore ways of differentiating performances of understanding;
  • identify appropriate criteria to use in judging differentiated performances of understanding based on the six “facets”;
  • apply the W.H.E.R.E.T.O framework to design engaging and effective differentiated instruction;
  • design or refine a differentiated unit of study using the Unit Design Template;

Designing an Understanding-Based Curriculum based on Common Core Standards

Time Frame: 1-3 days

Target Audience: This workshop is designed for curriculum leaders, including Assistant Superintendents, Curriculum Directors, department & grade level chairpersons, staff developers, and school-based administrators and lead teachers serving on curriculum committees. It is recommended that participants attend in school and district teams.

Workshop Description: The new Common Core Standards provide a clear set of worthy educational outcomes. However, as noted in the documents, “standards are not curriculum.” Educators must use the standards as a basis for designing high-quality curricula and assessments to support impactful teaching for effective learning.In this session, will examine a practical framework for transforming the Common Core Standards into a curriculum that emphasizes understanding and long-term transfer. Participants will learn specific strategies for “unpacking” the Standards into transfer goals, understandings and essential questions. Ideas and examples of curriculum mapping and cornerstone assessments will be presented along with a collection of excellent, supportive websites. Note: Participants should bring copies of the Common Core standards as well as standards from their state, province or school district.

Unpacking Common Core Standards

Time Frame: 2-6 hours

Target Audience:
Teachers and administrators at all levels

Workshop Description:Increasingly, educators throughout the world are obligated to teach and assess content standards established at the national, state, or provincial levels. However, teachers and curriculum designers often confront two common challenges as they seek to become “standards based” – 1) too many content standards and benchmarks, and/or 2) global or vaguely-worded standards. In this session, we’ll explore practical and proven ways to “unpack” the new Common Core standards in order to focus teaching around important ideas contained in the standards. A variety of specific strategies and tools will be examined.Note: Participants should bring copies of the Common Core standards as well as standards from their state, province or school district.

Understanding by Design® and Curriculum Mapping

Time Frame: 1-2 days

Target Audience:
Curriculum directors, subject area specialists, teacher leaders, members of curriculum committees, school-based administrators

Workshop Description: This workshop explores the mutually beneficial connection between Understanding by Design and curriculum mapping. We will explore the underlying principles of these mutually supportive approaches, and learn practical strategies for constructing more coherent and results-oriented curricula. A variety of excellent Internet-accessible examples and resources will be shared.
More specifically, participants will be actively engaged in examining several key questions:• In what ways can Understanding by Design guide curriculum mapping?• How can we insure a more coherent curriculum – from the learner’s point of view?• How does “backward design” apply to curriculum mapping?• What’s wrong with “diary” mapping?• How do overarching elements insure a proper curriculum spiraling?• What is the role of recurring “cornerstone” assessments in vertical maps?

• How might we work smarter and more effectively in curriculum planning?

 

A Framework for 21st Century Learning

Time Frame: 3-6 hours

Target Audience:
Curriculum leaders, including Assistant Superintendents, Curriculum Directors, department & grade level chairpersons, staff developers, and school-based administrators and lead teachers serving on curriculum committees.

A growing number of voices within and outside the educational establishment are calling for an enhanced emphasis on “21st century skills.” This call for a focus on 21st century learning raises important and practical questions for educators:

  • How might we effectively infuse these skills into an already over-crowded curriculum?
  • What assessment practices are needed to assess 21st century skills in conjunction with academic standards?
  • What kind of teaching is needed to promote 21st century learning?
  • Which current educational practices and school structures are likely to support the attainment of 21st century learning outcomes, and which may inhibit it?

This session will present a practical framework for considering these questions and building a system to support 21st Century Learning.

Classroom Assessment Practices to Promote, as Well as Measure, Learning

Time Frame: 3-6 hours

Target Audience:
Teachers and administrators at all levels

Workshop Description:In this era of accountability, educators throughout the nation are under pressure to raise the scores on “high stakes” tests. This pressure often results in a narrowing of the curriculum (to focus on the tested areas) and increasing use of “practice testing” in the classroom. Unfortunately, such an approach typically yields only short-term gains and may, ultimately, undermine the kinds of meaningful learning that underlies genuine achievement. In this session, we’ll examine alternatives to “practicing for the test,” review a planning framework for selecting/developing appropriate assessments for various achievement targets, and consider classroom assessment practices that promote learning, as well as measure it.Participants will explore the following essential questions:

  • What does it mean to “think like an assessor?”
  • How are different achievement targets most appropriately assessed?
  • What is understanding and how is it revealed?
  • What is “falling through the cracks” of conventional testing?
  • What classroom assessment practices promote learning, as well as measure it?

Performance-Based Assessment in the Classroom: Principles and Practices

Time Frame: 1 day

Target Audience:
Teachers, curriculum designers and assessment specialists at all levels

Workshop Description:In this session, we’ll explore the potential of performance-based assessments to engage students in “authentic” applications of knowledge and skills, measure important learning goals, and support effective instruction. We’ll examine the 3 Ps of performance assessment – performance tasks, projects, and portfolios. We’ll review an assessment framework, a guide for planning more thoughtful student assessments. Finally, we’ll consider implementation suggestions and preview a variety of print and Internet resources to support the expanded use of performance-based assessments. Participants in this workshop will:

  • describe the “big picture” of how performance assessment fits into a standards-based system;
  • use a planning framework for selecting assessment methods for your classroom, school or district;
  • apply a variety of practical tools and templates for designing more authentic tasks for classroom, school or district levels;
  • review the use of criterion-based scoring tools (rubrics, performance lists) for evaluating, and enhancing, the quality of student products and performances;
  • identify print and Internet resources to support the expanded use of performance-based assessments

Developing and Using Scoring Rubrics to Evaluate and Improve Student Performance

Time Frame: 3-6 hours

Target Audience:
Teachers and administrators at all levels

Workshop Description: Scoring tools, such as performance lists and rubrics; can be used to improve student performance as well as evaluate it. In this workshop, we’ll examine the characteristics, advantages, and limitations of different types of scoring tools – performance lists, holistic and analytic rubrics. We’ll learn a structured process for designing scoring rubrics. We’ll review procedures for achieving fair, valid, and reliable evaluation of student learning. Finally, we’ll examine strategies for using scoring tools for instruction as well as evaluation. Relevant print and electronic resources will be previewed.Note:Participants will have the opportunity to work with a partner or group to design or refine a scoring rubric. Thus, they should bring any materials (e.g., content standards, unit plans, open-ended assignments/ assessments, sample rubrics, etc.) to support their work.Topic Agenda:

  • role of criterion-based evaluation in standards-based education;
  • 3 types of criterion-based scoring tools – performance lists, holistic rubrics, and analytic rubrics (advantages and limitations of each);
  • a structured process for designing scoring rubrics;
  • using rubrics for evaluation and grading;
  • using rubrics for feedback and learning;
  • print and electronic resources for rubric designers;
  • wrap-up: synthesis and evaluation

Balanced Assessment

Time Frame: 3-6 hours

Target Audience:
Teachers and administrators at all levels

Balanced assessment has two dimensions:  1) Using a variety of assessment types appropriately matched to our varied learning goals;  and 2) Recognizing that there are varied purposes for assessment (diagnostic, formative and summative) and that all assessments should ultimately be used to improve learning, not simply evaluate it. In this workshop, participants will explore both connotations of the term while considering the following essential questions: Why do we assess? How might assessment promote learning as well as measure it? How do we raise student achievement on high-stakes assessments without “practicing for the test”? What is “falling through the cracks” of conventional testing? How can thinking like an assessor focus curriculum planning and instruction? Why should we assess before teaching? What kinds of assessments will motivate learners to do their best? What types of feedback most benefits students and teachers?A variety of practical and proven assessment practices will be presented.Topics:• Assessment Types and Purposes• Using Summative Assessments to Enhance Learning• Diagnostic (pre-) Assessments to Guide Teaching• Formative (on-going) Assessments to Inform Adjustments

• Analyzing Results to Guide Needed Improvements

• Engaging Learners in Self-Assessment, Reflection and Goal Setting

• Print and Web-based Resources

Teaching and Assessing for Understanding and Transfer

Time Frame: 3-6 hours

Target Audience:
Teachers (grades 3-12), school-based administrators, staff developers, college faculty

Workshop Description:How does teaching for deep understanding differ from “coverage-oriented” instruction? What instructional techniques are most effective for developing and deepening student understanding of important ideas and processes? What observable indicators are evident in classrooms in which teaching for understanding and the authentic transfer of knowledge are emphasized?In this workshop, we will explore these questions using the Understanding by Design (UbD) framework. Participants will:

  • examine practical illustrations of research-based instructional practices designed to promote understanding of “big ideas” and transfer of learning;
  • apply the A.M.T. framework to instructional planning;
  • learn specific teaching and on-going assessment strategies;
  • identify observable indicators (classroom “look fors”) of teaching for understanding and transfer;
  • analyze videotaped illustrations of “teaching for understanding” using the UbD design standards;

Schooling by Design: Principles and Practices for Educational Leaders

Time Frame: 3-6 hours

Target Audience:
School-based administrators, department chairs, team leaders, school improvement team members, district level staff

Workshop Description:This session will provide an overview of the book, Schooling by Design (ASCD, 2007), and explore the following essential questions:
• What is the Mission of Schooling and how should a school’s mission guide its work?• How should principles of learning influence educational practice?• What are the ten components of a robust curriculum and assessment system aimed at student understanding, transfer and 21st Century Skills?• How might we use a “photo album” of evidence (not simply a snapshot) to guide our school/district-improvement efforts?• How can “backward design” enhance our school/district-improvement efforts?We’ll examine a variety of practical and proven processes, tools and examples to assist administrators and teacher leaders in leading and sustaining a school or district action/improvement plan reflecting SbD principles and strategies.

Using Backward Design for School Improvement Planning

Time Frame: 2-6 hours

Target Audience:
School-based administrators, department chairs, team leaders, school improvement team members, district level staff

Workshop Description:   The “backward design” process proposed by Understanding by Design (UbD) offers a 3-stage curriculum-planning framework to align standards, assessments, and instructional practices. In addition to its use as a curriculum planner, the concepts and tools of “backward design” can be used for planning professional development and, more generally, for any team, school, or district initiative. This session will examine how the three stages of backward design can enhance planning for school improvement.

Understanding by Design® for Staff Developers: Designing Engaging and Effective Professional Development

Time Frame: 3-6 hours

Target Audience:
Educators at all levels who plan and conduct professional development for others

Workshop Description:This workshop applies the ideas of Understanding by Design apply to planning professional development. Participants will explore the following questions: What is results-oriented staff development? What does “backward design” imply for planning effective professional development? What are the qualities of the most engaging and effective staff development? How might we “walk the talk” and apply design standards to improve the quality of our professional development?In this workshop, participants will:

  • apply the “backward design” process for planning staff development;
  • use essential questions to frame and focus on “big ideas” in professional development;
  • apply a peer review process based on Design Standards to give and receive feedback on designs;
  • explore ideas for action research and lesson study;

Note: A full-day workshop will include design time. Participants should bring resources to support their design of professional development (e.g., a workshop, course, study group).

Walking the Talk: Applying Standards to our Own Work

Time Frame: 2-3 hours

Target Audience:
School-based administrators, department chairs, team leaders, school improvement team members, district level staff

Workshop Description:Increasingly, student performance is being judged against standards. How should we as educators “walk the talk” and apply standards to our own work? In this workshop, we’ll explore this question by examining a set of curriculum and assessment Design Standards to inform and guide our improvement efforts at the classroom, school and district levels. Participants will learn and apply a structured process for reviewing curricular designs.Optional: Participants bring a unit design for review.

Anchoring: A Process for Establishing Performance Standards

Time Frame: 3 hours

Target Audience:
Teachers, curriculum designers and assessment specialists at all levels

Workshop Description: Anchoring refers to the process of selecting examples of student work to reflect performance standards. These examples, known as anchors, provide tangible and specific illustrations of various levels of quality or degrees of proficiency based upon established criteria. The collaborative process of selecting anchors helps teachers to reach agreement on what it means to “meet the standard.” Anchors also assist teachers and students to better understand “how good is good enough” and how to apply performance criteria more consistently. Workshop participants will learn and apply a structured process for anchoring student work.

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