Grant Wiggins

1950 - 2015

 Grant Wiggins

Grant Wiggins was the President of Authentic Education in Hopewell, New Jersey. He earned his Ed.D. from Harvard University and his B. A. from St. John's College in Annapolis. Grant and his AE colleagues consulted with schools, districts, state and national education departments on a variety of reform matters. He and his colleagues also organized conferences and workshops, and develop print and Web resources on key school reform issues.

Grant is perhaps best known for being the co-author, with Jay McTighe, of Understanding by Design®, the award-winning and highly successful program and set of materials on curriculum design used all over the world; and of Schooling by Design. He is also a co-author for Pearson Publishing on more than a dozen textbook programs in which UbD™ is infused. His work was been supported by the Pew Charitable Trusts, the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, and the National Science Foundation.

Over the past twenty five years, Grant worked on some of the most influential reform initiatives in the world, including Ted Sizer's Coalition of Essential Schools, the International Baccalaureate Program, the Advanced Placement Program; state reform initiatives in New Jersey, New York, and Delaware; and national reforms in China, the Philippines, and Thailand.

Grant is widely known for his work in assessment reform. He is the author of Educative Assessment and Assessing Student Performance, both published by Jossey-Bass. He was a lead consultant on many state assessment reform initiatives, such as the portfolio project in Vermont and performance assessment consortia in New Jersey and North Carolina.

His many articles have appeared in such journals as Educational Leadership and Phi Delta Kappan. His work is grounded in 14 years of secondary school teaching and coaching. Grant taught English and electives in philosophy, coached Varsity soccer, Cross Country, JV Baseball, and Track & Field. He also played in the Hazbins, a rock band.


Client Feedback about Grant

"You wanted some feedback regarding our three day training? It was one of the most valuable, timely trainings we have held in the district. Through our work with Grant (Wiggins) and Denise (Wilbur) our Student Achievement Coaches really got a good handle and start on the work we are trying to accomplish.

The training also took a large group of leaders into the direction that we are thinking about assessment and unit development. It helped the administrators set a clear focus for this summer and next year's work and answered a lot of questions we had about our direction and the intensity of our work. I appreciated the fact that Grant gave us undiluted opinions that really seemed to make a difference in the thinking of our teacher leaders (and us too). Thanks (Carol) for your help with all the preparations - the arrangements made ahead of time helped everything run very smoothly. Hope to work with you again soon."

Felicia Roher
Instructional Supervisor
Jessamine SD, Kentucky

"Dr. Wiggins' message was overwhelmingly well received by the educators in Wyoming. His knowledge of assessment and curriculum design had a powerful impact on our educators. They are excited to roll up their sleeves and continue working on the work."

Dr. Annette Bohling
Wyoming Department of Education

"As a trainer Grant (Wiggins) has the vision to see where education needs to go. His experience, common sense, and insight are remarkable.

"He (Grant Wiggins) has presented UbD™ (Understanding for Design) for me at two schools. At both the faculty saw it as a powerful tool that would help them develop a stronger curriculum.... does a wonderful job of showing teachers how to raise the level of student engagement and to ensure that what we teach is meaningful and enduring in its impact. The backward design model has fundamentally changed the way we think."

Kendall Didsbury
Academic Dean The Benjamin School
North Palm Beach, Florida

"The workshop that Grant (Wiggins) conducted for our 50 administrators was excellent!... The issues we discussed were thought-provoking, and the materials used enabled us to clarify the direction that we need to take as a district... Everyone left with a much greater sense of the power behind the UbD™ (Understanding by Design®) process. Thanks for all of your help!"

Andy Greene
Half Hollow Hills, NY

"For the last fourteen years I have been doing what I can to get Grant Wiggins in front of as many independent school audiences as possible. Every teacher in every school needs to be exposed to and internalize Grant's work on assessment and Understanding by Design®. I think people leave the workshops irrevocably changed; once you've worked with Grant, you can't go back to your narrow views of curriculum, assessment, and learning."

Steve Clem
Executive Director
Association of Independent Schools of New England (AISNE)

"The workshop was GREAT! The response of the faculty was very promising. As a matter of fact, those involved with the education department decided to 'immediately' place student outcomes with at least one performance based assessment into our syllabi for next fall! I think Grant had a good impact on all of us. Dr. Wiggins adapted his presentation well to meet the needs of our college faculty and it was appreciated. I hope we can work with him again in the near future."

Gladys Ritterhouse
Sterling College, KS

"It (the workshop) was great. Grant really covered a lot of information. I don't know how he does it—he seemed to be talking off the cuff and yet covered a lot of information. Today, faculty were talking about what he said and from their comments, I know they were listening. I definitely feel we got our money's worth. I must also say that working with you (all) was a pleasure."

Donna Bagley
Tabor College, KS

"...It was an exciting and thought provoking day!"

Barbara Klatt
The Culver Academies, IN

"It (the workshop) was very successful...the response was quite positive from the staff and the administrators ... It was a good beginning to a new look at assessment...thank you!"

Tina Gordon, Ed.D.
Elementary Director of Curriculum
Wall Township, NJ

"It was a fantastic opportunity to have Dr. Wiggins and Associates provide critical friend work for us. The chance to have one of the foremost educational experts and his team provide us with both insights and important external validation was well worth the nominal fee."

Rabbi Shmuel Jablon
Head of Lower School
Fuchs Mizrachi School, OH

"Fantastic! Wonderful! Dynamic! Right on target! Perfect! The group LOVED him (Grant Wiggins)!"

Arlene P. LaPlante
Program Manager
School-to-Career, CA

"No one has taught me more about course design than Grant Wiggins. Until I read 'Understanding by Design® (UbD™)', I never considered designing new courses to be serious intellectual work, but Wiggins' 'backwards design' approach changed all that. Now I understand that making a course good for learning requires the same creativity, the same careful inquiry, and, really, the same long gestation period that is required of all scholarly work. It would take a decade to wring all the insights that could be gained out of UbD™ and apply them to a single course. But in the meantime, concepts such as 'enduring questions,' 'recurring tasks,' 'facets of understanding,' and 'uncoverage' have become foundational concepts for the way I design my courses and justify them to others."

Lendol Calder
History Department Associate Professor and Chair
Augustana College
Rock Island, IL

"...I've been working with a mentor on instructional design and this workshop sounded (to me) like it would be more food for thought and exploration - and it has been!

...The whole idea of moving backwards. So smart!...

...why struggle with assessing and developing high level learning opportunities for students - Wiggins is an expert... Grant's effective guidance encourages me to think (about) how to apply his knowledge..."

College Staff attending Grant Wiggins Worskhop
California State University, Sacramento

"Grant Wiggins provided an excellent workshop in designing assessments to address curricular goals. Above all, he proved to be a good listener - concerning himself first with learning about our needs and helping us take a next step in our thinking. His advance work was exemplary and essential in optimizing the usefulness of his onsite presentation."

Rick Umiker
St. Mark's School Assistant Head
Southborough, MA

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