Presentation Details

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The Eleventh International Literacy and Education Research Network Conference on Learning

How to Leave No Child Behind: Universal Design for Instruction and Assessment

Dr Leanne R. Ketterlin-Geller, Josh Geller.

Accommodations are used in instruction and assessment to remove barriers caused by physical, cognitive, or sensory deficits that limit students’ ability to interact with the materials. When used during instruction, accommodations provide students with direct access to content information, thereby increasing the opportunities to learn the material. When used during assessment, accommodations enable students to better demonstrate their knowledge and understanding. By removing obstacles to instruction and assessment, accommodations can significantly enhance educational opportunities available to students with disabilities.

Structural supports are critically needed within the educational community to improve the process for identifying, implementing, and monitoring the use of accommodations. Universal Design for Instruction and Assessment (UDI/A) has the potential to address these issues. UDI/A systematically embeds format changes within instructional materials and assessment tools during their development. Using a multi-method approach for assessing access skills, students’ needs are determined and matched with appropriate learning and/or testing conditions, thereby providing users with customized materials and tests based on individual needs. These systems allow students to gain content knowledge and/or demonstrate their skills unencumbered by the lack of access skills. Thus, UDI/A presents an optimal environment for providing instruction and assessment to students with a broad range of ability levels.

In this paper, we highlight the principles of UDI/A and discuss how this approach to materials development enhances the presentation, accessibility, and usability of instructional materials and assessment tools for all students and promotes an inclusive learning environment. Current applications of UDI/A are demonstrated and technological solutions are offered.


Dr Leanne R. Ketterlin-Geller  (United States)
Assistant Professor
Educational Leadership
University of Oregon

Dr. Leanne Ketterlin Geller is the Director of Research Projects with Behavioral Research and Teaching at the University of Oregon. Her research interests include large-scale assessment, supports for diverse learners, and teacher preparation.

Josh Geller  (United States)

  • Universal Design
  • Accommodations
  • Instructional Design
  • Assessment Design
  • Students with Disabilities

(30 min. Conference Paper, English)