The 6 Aspects Of Understanding: A Definition For Academics

by Terry Heick

What are the 6 Aspects of Understanding?

Definition: The 6 Aspects of Understanding is a non-hierarchical framework for understanding. It’s made up of 6 ‘domains’ or ‘aspects’ which are helpful as indicators of understanding

The framework was created by Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe to work with and thru their Understanding by Design mannequin. As a result of it’s supposed to, partly, help academics in evaluating and assessing pupil understanding, it cannot solely be used to design assessments but additionally create the actions and classes designed to result in that understanding. (Suppose backward design.)

The six aspects seem within the bulleted record beneath.

The 6 Aspects of Understanding

All summaries and definitions (italicized) are taken from Understanding by Design, Expanded 2nd Version.


Clarification asks college students to inform the ‘massive concept’ in their very own phrases, make connections, present their work, clarify their reaosning, and induce a principle from information.


Interpretation requires the coed to make sense of tales, artwork works, information, conditions, or claims. Intepretation additionally entails translating concepts, emotions, or work carried out in a single medium into one other.


College students who perceive can use their information and talent in new conditions (and) place emphasis on utility in genuine contexts with an actual or simulated viewers, goal, settings, constraints, and background noise.


Perspective is demonstrated when the coed can see issues from completely different factors of view, articulate the opposite facet of the case, see the large image, acknowledge underlying assumptions, and take a vital stance.

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Mental creativeness is important to understanding and it manifests itself not solely within the arts and literature however extra typically by way of the flexibility to understand individuals who suppose and act in a different way than us.


…by way of self-assessment we acquire full perception into how refined and correct college students’ views are of the duties, crieria, and requirements they’re to grasp.

Utilizing The 6 Aspects of Understanding In Your Classroom

Not like Bloom’s Taxonomy (and Bloom’s Taxonomy energy verbs), the 6 Aspects of Understanding is a non-hierarchical framework–that means that there usually are not ‘decrease ranges’ and ‘greater ranges’ of considering. ‘Self-Information’ isn’t prioritized over ‘Clarification,’ for instance. Neither is one aspect ‘superior’ over one other.

Moderately, the Grant and Jay supposed for the ‘aspects’ for use to help academics and college students by offering methods to assist assess understanding. And since conventional content material areas vary so dramatically–from arts and literature to language and math–the thought is to create a framework versatile sufficient to work in number of contexts and wishes.

In a 2014 white paper printed by ASCD, Grant and Jay provided some background on the 6 Aspects of Understanding.

The Six Aspects of Understanding have been conceived as six equal and suggestive indicators of understanding, and thus are used to develop, choose, or critique evaluation duties and prompts. They have been by no means supposed to be a hierarchy. Moderately, one selects the suitable aspect(s) relying on the character of the content material and the specified understandings about it…We now have by no means advised instructor should use the entire aspects when assessing college students’ understanding. For instance, an evaluation in arithmetic would possibly ask college students to use their understanding of an algorithm to a real-world drawback and clarify their reasoning. In historical past, we would ask learners to clarify a historic occasion from completely different views. In sum, we advocate that academics use solely the aspect or aspects that may present applicable proof of the focused understanding.

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Contributing Elements: the various evaluation wants throughout completely different content material areas, tradition, expertise entry ranges, and so forth; Grant and Jay’s glorious Ubd work over time; a mix of standardized check strain narrowing our view of ‘understanding’ and the increasing view of studying fashions above and past textbook work and pencil-and-paper evaluation, the ‘Complete Little one‘ strategy to instructing and studying

Associated Instructional Ideas: Understanding by Design, Educational Design, Bloom’s Taxonomy, Evaluation, Essential Considering, Undertaking-Primarily based Studying, Pupil-centered studying

Associated Educating & Studying Sources: Bloom’s Taxonomy questions, The 40/40/40 rule, UbD planning templates

You may learn extra concerning the 6 Aspects of Understanding on ASCD, and naturally within the many volumes of helpful UbD supplies printed over time.

The 6 Aspects Of Understanding: A Definition For Academics