Wiggins and McTighe


The Wiggins and McTighe model starts with the end in mind.  This model aligns the curriculum with the standards and benchmarks the course is compared to (ABET, Middle States, etc.).

It involves 3 major components:

  1. Identify the desired results.
    • What should the students know, understand, and be able to do?
    • Consider the goals and curriculum expectations
    • Focus on the “big ideas” (principles, theories, concepts, point of views, or themes)
  2. Determine acceptable levels of evidence that support that the desired results.
    • What is acceptable evidence that student understanding took place?
    • Aligning assessment tasks with a range of assessment methods (observations, tests, projects, etc.)
  3. Design activities that will encourage achievement of the learning objects.
    • What knowledge and skills will students need to achieve the desired results?
    • Consider teaching methods, sequence of lessons, and resource materials

The Steps in the “Backward Design” Model

  1. Analysis of standard/benchmarks (or use state grade-level expectations).
  2. Develop the assessment task.
  3. Development of a scoring guide.
  4. Design of curriculum.
  5. Planning of instructional strategies.
  6. Delivery of instruction.
  7. Administering assessment.
  8. Evaluate/refine your 8-step process.






Buehl, D. (2000, October). Backward design; Forward thinking. Education News. Retrieved 10 June 2012 from http://www.weac.org/news_and_publications/education_news/2000-2001/read_backwards.aspx.

Childre, A., Sands, J.R., Pope, S.T. (2009). Backward design. Teaching Exceptional Children, 41(5), 6-14.

Cho, J., & Trent, A. (2005). “Backward” Curriculum Design and Assessment: What Goes Around Comes Around, or Haven’t We Seen This Before?. Taboo: The Journal of Culture and Education, 9(2), 105-122.




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