In a recent Edutopia interview with Grant Wiggins, he is asked to reflect on the changes that he has observed in classrooms since he and J McT developed the Understanding by Design framework and what he would still see as priorities.
He has messages for Administrators in terms of what we should be doing to facilitate the process.
Edutopia: Am I correct in stating that administrators evaluate teacher performance by using authentic assessment strategies like the UbD supervisor form and then they provide critical feedback, similar to what the teachers should be providing their students?
Grant Wiggins: That is an insightful question. Yes, administrators should start their evaluations with conversation concerning what counts as evidence of student learning, and what the teacher wants them to be looking for in their lesson, both of which questions demand that the teacher do some effective lesson planning.
I really like his strategy for supporting teacher growth in terms of their understanding of ‘learning success’.
Grant Wiggins: When I visit a class, I have the teacher fill out an “UbD Observation Form” for supervisors. Some of the questions on the form include: What counts as evidence of learning success? What do you want me to look for in this observation? When teachers have thoughtful answers to these questions, the results are easily observable in the lesson delivery. When I talk to teachers about their lesson plans and they do not have a good answer for these questions, this is a warning sign that the teacher will probably need some help in lesson design and this is almost always evident in the observation of the lesson delivery. Administrators can help the teachers focus on how and why they measure learning and especially, they can help teachers to remember to think of assessment in terms of the road to mastery rather than tests or grades.
Touche – it is all about learning rather than grading!