Hamilton-Wenham Regional School District Transfer Goals
The HWRSD’s Mission is “to educate our children to become young adults who are of good character and demonstrate mastery of the knowledge and skills needed to be successful members of our global economy and engaged citizens of the 21st Century.” In order to achieve this goal, we need to establish a district-wide system that articulates a shared and consistent set of learning expectations for all students that are measured by corresponding assessment tasks. We’ve used the following three focusing questions to guide our work in developing this system:
What knowledge, skills and abilities do our students need in order to be successful in the future?
How will we know that students have mastered these knowledge, skills and abilities?
What school facilities, programs, and instructional approaches do we need to employ to teach students these knowledge, skills and abilities?
We have adopted the Understanding by Design® (UbD®) process to guide our exploration of these three questions. The UbD framework offers a planning process and structure to guide curriculum, assessment, and instruction. Its two key ideas are contained in the title: (1) focus on teaching and assessing for understanding and transfer of learning, and (2) design “backward” from those ends. The three stages of UbD mirror our three guiding questions. In Stage 1, we consider our goals, examine established content standards, and review curriculum expectations. In Stage 2, we consider the assessment evidence needed to document and validate that the targeted learning has been achieved. Stage 3 plans the most appropriate lessons and learning activities to address the goals identified in Stage 1.(1)
Our work in the 2015-2016 school year has focused on “Stage 1” of the UbD process, defining the knowledge, skills and abilities our will students need in order to be successful. For the past year, faculty members from all grades and academic disciplines have been engaged in developing PreK-12 Transfer Goals, Overarching Understandings and Overarching Essential Questions for each academic discipline.for nine major content areas. "Transfer Goals" are statements of what students should know and be able to do in order to use, or transfer, the knowledge, skills and abilities they have acquired through education and apply them to authentic tasks. “Overarching Understandings” identify the “important, transferable ideas and processes that students should come to understand.”(2) “Essential Questions” engage learners in making meaning and deepening their understandings.(3) None of us attended school with the goal of only being successful students. Rather, we attended school in order to be successful in life. Transfer goals, Overarching Unerstandings and Essential Questions are therefore statements of what we independently need to do with the learning we have mastered in school.
In addition to developing Transfer Goals for each individual academic area, we have also written the following “Overarching” Transfer Goals to apply to all students in the HWRSD:
All Graduates of the HWRSD Will Be Able to Independently Use Their Learning to:
Build positive personal relationships and make responsible choices that are physically, socially, emotionally, and intellectually sound.
Persevere in facing the challenges and taking the risks integral to owning one’s learning process.
Communicate and Collaborate
Utilize effective and varied methods of communication and collaboration for different purposes and audiences.
Problem Solve and Think Critically
Demonstrate critical and creative thinking in order to make informed decisions, draw conclusions, and solve problems.
Lead Locally and Globally
Consider and evaluate multiple historical and cultural perspectives to lead empathetically, respectfully, and responsibly in the local and global community.
(Printable Version of the Overarching Transfer Goals)
The Academic Transfer Goals, Overarching Understandings and Essential Questions can be accessed through the links below:
English Language Arts Transfer Goals, Overarching Understandings and Overarching Essential Questions
Fine Arts Transfer Goals, Overarching Understandings and Overarching Essential Questions
Guidance and School Counseling Transfer Goals and Enduring Understandings
Integrated Media Transfer Goals, Overarching Understandings and Overarching Essential Questions
Mathematics Transfer Goals, Overarching Understandings and Overarching Essential Questions
Science Technology and Engineering Transfer Goals, Overarching Understandings and Essential Questions
Social Studies Transfer Goals, Overarching Understandings and Essential Questions
Wellness Transfer Goals, Overarching Understandings and Essential Questions
World Language Transfer Goals, Overarching Understandings and Essential Questions
During the 2016-2017 school year, we will move on to “Stage 2” of the UbD process, which focuses on determining the appropriate assessment evidence needed to document success and achieve the Stage 1 Desired Results.
For more information on Understanding by Design and the HWRSD’s Design Process, please refer to the documentation below.
- Jay McTighe and Grant Wiggins, “Improve Curriculum, Assessment, and Instruction Using the Understanding by Design® Framework.” ASCD 2014.
- Jay McTighe, (2015), “Overarching Understandings and Essential Questions.”
- Jay McTighe and Grant Wiggins (2012), “From Common Core Standards to Curriculum: Five Big Ideas.” The New Hampshire Journal of Education.