Looking back to the key concepts and essential questions that underlie content standards can help identify learning goals and provide the starting point for planning both curriculum and school improvement.
Schools and districts today are working on two distinct kinds of improvement initiatives. One centers on the classroom—emphasizing effective instructional practices in teaching to state standards. The other focus is systemic—creating results-oriented schools that use analysis of achievement data to develop improvement plans.
Schools can integrate these two approaches at both the school and district levels by first thinking carefully about the desired results and then working backward to develop meaningful assessments and learning plans (Wiggins & McTighe, 1998). The three-stage backward design process for curriculum planning can also enhance school improvement planning and ensure that decisions are driven by data. For backward design to work, educators need to identify desired results, analyze multiple sources of data, and determine appropriate action plans.
Identify Desired Results