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Next Generation of Arts Standards Based on Understanding by Design


SEADAE's Partner the Educational Theatre Association (EdTA), recently released an important interview conducted by EdTA's Jim Palmarini with educational consultant Jay McTighe.  (Understanding by Design)


Cornerstone Tasks - By Jim Palmarini
An interview with Jay McTighe on Arts Assessment made available by our partners at the Educational Theatre Association.

The following excerpt has been reprinted with permission from Educational Theatre Association

Jay McTighe and colleague Grant Wiggins are two of the most respected assessment experts working in education today. In their influential book, Understanding by Design, McTighe and Wiggins explain their widely embraced approach to curriculum building. The UbD model suggests a “backward design” strategy for creating a curriculum and assessments with performance ends in mind. Their three-stage planning process begins by first specifying desired knowledge, skills, and understanding; then, identifying the assessments that will provide evidence of achieving those results; and finally, developing the needed instruction and learning activities. The foundation of their system includes cornerstones tasks and their sub parts: essential questions and enduring understandings. Cornerstone tasks focus on what we want learners to be able to do with the knowledge and skills that they have acquired. The enduring understandings and companion essential questions provide the overarching framework for the tasks. The enduring understandings highlight what expert performers understand, while the essential questions help to cultivate those understandings in our students.

McTighe, along with his wife Daisy, has been working as a consultant for the Next Generation Arts Project, the initiative to re-write the 1994 National Standards for Arts Education. The project is being sponsored by the National Coalition of Core Arts Standards (NCCAS)

 In a recent phone interview, McTighe offered a detailed overview of cornerstone tasks and enduring understandings and essential questions and how they might help shape the new arts standards. Full disclosure: besides being editor of this journal, I also serve as EdTA’s director of educational policy and as a member of National Coalition of Core Arts Standards leadership committee.

EdTA has published the full text of the interview from Teaching Theatre on their website along with a link to download a pdf file.

Many thanks to our partners for this great resource!