The idea of Backward Design comes from Wiggins & McTighe and suggests that learning experiences should be planned with the final assessment in mind
By beginning with the end in mind, teachers are able to avoid the common problem of planning forward from unit to another, only to find that in the end some students are prepared for the final assessment and others are not.
There are three stages to backward design:
For more information about the stages of backward design, check out this page from ARMS
Teaching to the Test vs. Teaching the Test
One criticism of this approach is that is appears to promote "teaching to the test". Yet despite the negative connotation that comes along with that phrase, argueable teaching to the test is exactly what the role of the instructor should be. This does not mean teaching the test itself, of course. But if a known final test or assessment is required, then backward design can be a useful way to prepare learners to perform well on the final assessment.
Backward Design Course (offered by ASCD)
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