New Online PD Course Focuses on Incorporating Project-Based Learning

Defined Learning’s Performance Task PD with Jay McTighe helps educators create, implement, and assess effective project-based lessons

(CHICAGO, IL) April 28, 2016 – Just in time for summer, Defined Learning, a K-12 educational media company combining technology, creativity, and curriculum to provide useful and relevant tools to schools, today announced the launch of its new online professional development course, Performance Task PD with Jay McTighe.

The four-module course guides educators through the process of incorporating project-based learning into their current curriculum. Upon completing the course, participants will be able to develop, implement, and evaluate student performance through a project-based learning performance task.

Module 1 gives a basic outline of a performance task, including key characteristics such as outlines and rubrics, and why they should be used to evaluate students.

Module 2 describes appropriate criteria for designing an effective lesson and tools used to align the task with current curriculum, State Standards, Common Core, and Next Generation Science Standards.

Module 3 provides a roadmap for educators to follow as they make adjustments to incorporate project-based learning into their curriculum. Participants will understand how their role as an educator leading the class will shift as they become a coach providing feedback and guidance to allow students to gain 21st-century skills by exploring real-world topics, solving problems, and working collaboratively.

Module 4 demonstrates how to evaluate each performance task using a rubric and how to “plan backwards” starting with the task analysis. This module also examines how tasks correlate with students’ ongoing formative assessment, which includes engaging students in self-assessment, reflection, and goal-setting.

Upon completing Performance Task PD with Jay McTighe, educators will possess a deeper understanding of performance task creation and receive a certificate of completion.

Performance Task PD is designed and narrated by Jay McTighe, an accomplished author and thought leader who is focused on standards-based reforms and development of performance-based assessments.

“Project-based learning and performance tasks are topics districts and thought leaders are talking about, but many are having a difficult time understanding how to successfully implement their ideas,” explained McTighe. “Often times professional development is offered to administrators and curriculum directors, but rarely trickles down to the teachers. Performance Task PD with Jay McTighe is an effective solution to provide PD, coaching, and training to the teachers who interact with students, create engaging lessons, and are constantly assessing student performance.”

Meghan Raftery, the elementary social studies coordinator at Virginia Beach City Public Schools completed the course within a few weeks and found great success. “The content of the lecture portion of the course was excellent and exactly aligned to some of the pickier things I want teachers to know about performance assessment,” Raftery said. “The assignments with each module require some really thoughtful reflection and actually really challenged me at times, which is a good thing.”

Also available is an “evaluated” version of the course where a user’s understanding and implementation of performance tasks will be reviewed and assessed by an evaluator trained by McTighe himself. Those who finish the Evaluated Performance Task PD with Jay McTighe course will receive a certificate of understanding from McTighe and his team.

“We created Performance Task PD with Jay McTighe to provide districts with a tool to make their vision of incorporating project-based learning with college and career readiness a reality,” said Joel Jacobson, the co-founder and chief operating officer of Defined Learning. “Providing PD focused on helping teachers manage new technology and concepts was a big goal of ours. With our online courses, they’re able to navigate through the modules on their own time, without missing class, while working towards the Performance Task PD with Jay McTighe certification and continuing education credit.”

The PD course is product-agnostic, but complements Defined Learning’s flagship product, Defined STEM, a supplementary curriculum breaking down tasks by grade level and standards.

More information on Performance Task PD and pricing information for Defined STEM users and non-users can be found here.

About Defined Learning

Defined Learning is a K-12 educational media company that combines technology, creativity, and curriculum expertise to provide useful and relevant products to schools. Defined Learning’s flagship service, Defined STEM, is a platform that enables teachers to provide application of knowledge to students through the use of project-based learning, real-world careers, and meaningful reading and writing activities. To learn more, visit

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