Unpacking your Learning Targets : Aligning Student Learning to Standards book cover
1st Edition

Unpacking your Learning Targets
Aligning Student Learning to Standards

ISBN 9780367465940
Published November 25, 2020 by Routledge
118 Pages 20 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

This accessible resource assists teachers, instructional coaches, principals, and curricular leaders to adopt a simple, straightforward framework that allows educators to seamlessly align high quality learning targets with specific standards. Full of examples across grade levels and subjects, this useful book helps educators deepen their understanding of content and design more efficient lessons that will aid student learning and readiness. Unpacking Your Learning Targets is a guide into a deeper understanding of creating and designing learning targets that foster student learning and success for all.

Table of Contents

1. All Hands-on Deck  2. Standards  3. What is a Learning Target?  4. Process  5. Standard Deconstruction  6. Word Wise  7. Cut the Fluff  8. Standard Reconstruction  9. With Higher Order Thinking in Mind  10. Write Learning Targets for the Standard  11. Assessing Your Learning Targets  12. Getting Started

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Sean McWherter is Director of Restart Programs, Guilford County Schools, North Carolina, USA.


In Unpacking Your Learning Targets, Sean McWherter presents a step-by-step process that clearly illustrates how educators can write a standard-derived learning target in student-worded language while retaining the standard’s inherent rigor and intent. To do this, a standard must first be analyzed and deconstructed to pinpoint the concepts and skills students are to learn. To then communicate with clarity the meaning of those academic terms so they are understandable to students, those terms need to be rephrased in accessible, student-worded, age-appropriate language. These learning targets then become the focus and basis for all instruction, assessment, and curriculum planning. As stated by the author, "Your content standards are the foundation for your learning targets just as your learning targets are the foundation for your lesson plans." Of the many noteworthy points in this highly recommended resource, two are directly related: (1) the importance of learning targets for promoting equity among all students and (2) the willingness and dedication of educators and leaders to "consistently implement the work that will pay the dividends of your time and effort and provide your students with more equitable learning opportunities."
- Larry Ainsworth, author of Rigorous Curriculum Design (2010 and 2019), Prioritizing the Common Core (2013), and Common Formative Assessments 2.0 (2015).

"Unpacking Your Learning Targets presents a process for ensuring the alignment of the learning targets for daily lessons with the standards from which they are derived. The process is simple but thorough and leads to learning targets that can be shared with students to support classroom learning. Educators at all grade levels can use this process and – the best news! – their students will benefit from the results."

Susan Brookhart, Professor Emerita, Duquesne University. Co-Author of Learning Targets: Helping Students Aim for Understanding in Today's Lesson (2012), Author of How to Create and Use Rubrics for Formative Assessment and Grading (2013)