This study examines middle school teachers’ experiences of learning standards-based unit design. Ten middle school teachers who received a series of four-day 32-hour three-stage workshops on standards-based unit design participated in the study. The collected data for this study includes field notes, informal conversations, learning reflections, lesson designs, and semi-structured individual interviews. Results indicate that the teachers valued the importance of deconstructing standards, which helped them break the tradition of teaching by the textbooks. This first learning stage was filled with agony but they walked away with a sense of achievement. In the stage of designing learning assessments, the teachers were convinced that performance assignments promote students’ learning motivation, positive learning outcomes, and help evaluate the attainment of learning objectives. The difficulty level of performance assignment design is determined by the attributes of each subject. Furthermore, they believed that rubrics are objective and effective student learning data collection tools. In the stage of developing learning activities, the teachers were ascertained that learning activities designs should tie closely with standards and that developing learning activities was the easiest stage. Finally, this study recommends that in addition to teachers’ professional development, pre-service teachers need training on standards-based curriculum design to fulfill the curricular expectations of the Twelve-Year Basic Education.
Keywords: curriculum design, learning assessments, learning objectives, standards-based, the use of curriculum standards