What I learned from Grant Wiggins …

By now everyone in the education world has learned of Grant Wiggins’ untimely death. I echo the sentiments of all who knew him or his work: this is a great loss to our field.

I joined the consultant group at Authentic Education last year. My “interview” with Grant and his wife Denise, took place in their sunny Lambertville kitchen. We chatted about education philosophies and Grant questioned me on my background, understanding of UbD, my current work and goals. After a pleasant conversation, he said, “Good, great, we’ll get you to work as soon as we can.” I expressed some surprise, “That’s it? There isn’t more you need to know?” With that characteristic twinkle in his eye, he responded, “What– should I keep asking you questions even when I’m satisfied that I understand your capabilities?”

So I laughed … there it was, Grant’s philosophy as a case-in-point. There’s no need to continue testing once you have sufficient information about mastery. Grant taught me, so clearly, that assessment is a necessary and valuable part of the learning process — but we want tests to be meaningful, authentic, and we don’t test just for the sake of testing!

I had hoped to learn more from you, Grant. Thankfully you’ve left a body of work for us to to draw on as we continue your efforts. Vale.