Over on Grant Wiggins’ excellent blog, Wiggins and Understanding by Design co-developer Jay McTighe have released a short white paper conveying a handful of “big ideas” on the Common Core integration, while also offering some thinking on how these new standards fit in to their popular UbD instructional design framework.

The big ideas appear below, and the white paper below that.

Note that #3 is especially critical–taking your time here is important, as is making sure you and other educators you collaborate with understand the terms on equal ground. This is also where content expertise becomes a factor.

Also, for big idea #5 to hold true, assessment forms must be re-thought in many classrooms, where they exist to measure rather than discover or build.


  1. The Common Core Standards have new emphases and require a careful reading.
  2. Standards are not curriculum.
  3. Standards need to be “unpacked.”
  4. A coherent curriculum is mapped backwards from desired performances.
  5. The Standards come to life through the assessments.

Image attribution flickr user officialusnavalimagery