Pearson Announces Exclusive Partnership With Nationally-Acclaimed Curriculum Designer Grant Wiggins
SACRAMENTO, Calif., March 25 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — Looking to help California’s educators boost students’ reading comprehension, Pearson School educational publishers today announced an exclusive partnership with Grant Wiggins, considered one of the nation’s preeminent experts in curriculum design.
Wiggins will serve as an author and consultant for Pearson on programs across all disciplines and grade levels. These include the publisher’s K-12 reading and language arts programs being developed for California.
“This collaboration brings together one of the nation’s premier experts in curriculum design and our team of the most prominent reading authors in the country,” said Pearson Senior Vice President for Literacy Dean Brown. “Our priority right now is creating programs for California that will address all of the literacy-related issues that teachers and students struggle with on a daily basis. California teachers know and respect Grant. We are extremely fortunate to have him joining us at this critical time to help tailor our offerings to meet the needs of the teachers and children in California.”
“Reading is a model case of understanding, and understanding by design only happens if you help students learn on their own which skills to use when,” Wiggins reminds us. “I have joined the Pearson team because they have made clear that understanding, not ‘coverage’ is the point.”
As part of his two decades of work in curriculum-reform, Wiggins notes that author David Pearson and his work on ‘the gradual release of responsibility’ has been a key influence in Understanding by Design and in their work with teachers in all other subjects. He said, “Transfer is the goal of learning, yet too few teachers design ‘backward’ from it. The folks at Pearson are clearly and explicitly determined to make understanding, not ‘coverage’ the purpose that informs their materials.”
Wiggins is perhaps best known as co-author, with Jay McTighe, of Understanding By Design and The Understanding By Design Handbook, the award- winning publications on curriculum published by the Association for Curriculum Development (ASCD). Understanding by Design offers a comprehensive way of thinking, supported by rich tools and resources, to help teachers design, edit, critique, peer-review, share, and improve their lessons and assessments. Wiggins’ notes that the “understanding by design” approach focuses on organizing lessons around tasks that require transfer as well as the exploration of thought-provoking, open-ended questions that lead students toward clearly-articulated goals or objectives. Wiggins says this process helps to avoid the twin problems of “textbook coverage” and “activity- oriented” teaching in which no clear priorities and purposes are apparent. “Everyone I have worked with so far at Pearson has been eager to engage, to work with me on integrating our ideas into Pearson materials, and to help me understand the process of textbook development. I am honored and grateful to be a part of such a thoughtful and committed group of educators.”
Wiggins’ “understanding by design” concept addresses the needs of all students, including English language learners, a component especially relevant for California which has the nation’s highest percentage of English learning students — 25 percent. This means that nearly 1.6 million K-12 students in the State face the daunting task of learning the academic curriculum and a new language concurrently. They are challenged with learning English quickly enough and fluently enough to participate in academic work, and like their peers, learn grade-level mathematics, reading/language arts, social studies, and science.
Wiggins’ work has been supported by the Pew Charitable Trusts, the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, and the National Science Foundation.
Pearson’s announcement comes on the heels of a National Endowment for the Arts study citing a number of troubling statistics about the state of reading in the United States:
-- Americans are reading less -- teens and young adults read less often and for shorter amounts of time compared with other age groups and with Americans of previous years. On average, Americans ages 15 to 24 spend almost two hours a day watching TV, and only seven minutes of their daily leisure time on reading -- Americans are reading less well -- reading scores continue to worsen, especially among teenagers and young males -- Nearly two-thirds of employers ranked reading comprehension "very important" for high school graduates. Yet 38 percent consider most high school graduates deficient in this basic skill -- American 15-year-olds ranked fifteenth in average reading scores for 31 industrialized nations, behind Poland, Korea, France and Canada
Over the past 20 years, Wiggins has worked on some of the most influential reform initiatives in the country, including Vermont’s portfolio system and Ted Sizer’s Coalition of Essential Schools. He has established statewide Consortia devoted to assessment reform for the states of North Carolina and New Jersey. Wiggins is the author of Educative Assessment and Assessing Student Performance, both published by Jossey-Bass. His many articles have appeared in such journals as Educational Leadership and Phi Delta Kappan.
About Pearson in California:
Pearson, the world’s leading education publisher, has been providing education materials to California schools as far back as the 1800s. You may know us individually as Scott Foresman, Prentice Hall, Longman, SuccessMaker, NovaNet, AGS, Pearson School Systems, Pearson Assessment, Learning Teams, Achievement Solutions, and so many more — names in the world of education that are recognized and respected across the State and the globe. In fact, most teachers in California have learned their profession by studying with Pearson’s Merrill or Allyn & Bacon textbooks, and many have benefited from our professional development programs. Today, nearly a thousand Pearson people are living and working in the State, providing educational materials that cover the gamut from birth through professional learning. Whether in science, math, social studies, music, middle/high school language arts, foreign languages, English as a Foreign Language or AP courses, hundreds of thousands of California’s preK-12 students are learning with our Pearson products every day. In addition to Education, Pearson’s other major businesses include The Financial Times Group and The Penguin Group. For more information, go to: http://www.californiareading.com/ or http://www.pearsonschool.com/.
CONTACT: Kate Miller of Pearson, +1-800-745-8489,email@example.com
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