McTighe and his colleague Grant Wiggins are the authors of the best-selling Understanding by Design, which seeks to improve student achievement by first planning a curriculum based on the goals of what students need to learn and then building activities to achieve that result.
Their framework also stipulates that “a primary goal of education should be the development and deepening of student understanding. Students reveal their understanding most effectively when they are provided with complex, authentic opportunities to explain, interpret, apply, shift perspective, empathize, and self-assess.”
McTighe has co-authored 10 books and is well known for his work with thinking skills, having coordinated statewide efforts in Maryland to develop instructional strategies, curriculum models and assessment procedures to improve the quality of student thinking. He has made presentations in 47 states and in 18 countries on five continents.
McTighe has served an informal adviser to the News Literacy Project for the past two years, and NLP’s Classroom Guide was developed using the principles of Understanding by Design. Robert Jervis, the former coordinator of social studies in Anne Arundel County, Md., and an associate of McTighe’s, is the project’s curriculum director.