Universal Design for Learning (UDL) was created to support the development of educational standards, instruction, materials, and assessments. However, research on UDL and its application to assessment—whether summative or formative—has remained limited, as has been research on tools to evaluate UDL implementation in education. The Measurement and Assessment SIG addresses both of these topics according to the following focal areas:
While assessment can be a divisive tool that entrenches systemic barriers to equitable learning and outcomes, UDL has great potential to increase awareness and provide guidance on how to improve the design, administration, scoring, and use of assessments to remove bias against all groups, particularly BIPOC, non-native language learners, and people with disabilities.
As the assessment community identifies new methods to increase student engagement and agency before, during, and after assessment—especially as we increase the breadth of constructs being measured—UDL provides an essential framework to expand the currently limited knowledge in emerging aspects of assessment, including diversity, equity, and inclusion.
The movement to digital-based assessments has created the opportunity to leverage new data sources and methodologies to measure deeper constructs and student engagement during assessments, such as instructionally embedded tasks and process data, for which UDL can provide guidance.
Research is needed to evaluate whether and how UDL-based assessment approaches can improve validity and fairness, allowing for more accurate measurement of students’ true knowledge, skills, and abilities in the absence of construct-irrelevant barriers.
Research is needed to improve measurement of factors necessary to validate UDL efficacy/effectiveness in teaching and learning.
An international forum of multiple stakeholders that includes educators is necessary to collectively define effective implementation and research opportunities that establish the role of UDL in improving assessment and measurement in a globally responsive fashion.
Our mission is to support collaborative research on the role of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) in improving assessment and measurement of diverse learners, effective application of UDL principles during assessment design, and development of new measures to evaluate UDL implementation and the impact of UDL on student learning.
The UDL-IRN Assessment & Measurement SIG fosters collaborative partnerships to build evidence on the potential for Universal Design for Learning to improve assessment of diverse student populations. The UDL-IRN Assessment & Measurement SIG envisions all education stakeholders understanding, creating, and having access to high quality assessment and measurement tools and practices that support effective summative and formative purposes, that accurately and fairly reflect diverse learners, and that can help evaluate UDL efficacy.
Past Panel Discussions
2022 NCME Equity in Assessment Webinar: Cultural Relevance Versus Construct Relevance: How do we Create Culturally Responsive Assessments?
Facilitator: Dr. Jennifer Lee; Panelists: Dr. Fiona Hinds, Dr. Katie McClarty, Dr. Chastity McFarlan, Dr. Akuoma Nwadike, Dr. Molly Faulkner-Bond | January 19, 2022
Can Universal Design for Learning Promote Assessment Fairness & Equity?
Jennifer Randall, Kristen Huff & Michael Rodriguez | July 27, 2021
Why We Started the Assessment & Measurement SIG
The application of universal design and UDL principles to assessment is gaining increased interest both in the United States and internationally, despite lack of clarity of what this entails. The co-sponsors of this SIG, who have been involved in worldwide assessment implementation and research activities, believe there would be significant commitment from stakeholders ranging from classroom teachers to testing professionals to collaborate on research to (1) evaluate the impact of different design features on engagement, fairness, and validity, (2) consider how to implement UDL-based assessment for both summative and formative purposes, and (3) explore how to measure non-academic factors impacting assessment performance, such as engagement and self-regulated learning. In particular, we believe that UDL can help the field address ways in which assessment systematically perpetuates educational inequities, in terms of constructs that are assessed, the way they are assessed, and the way scores are interpreted and used. In addition, we believe stakeholders would benefit from more knowledge about ways to measure UDL implementation, efficacy and effectiveness in teaching and learning.
We further believe that measurement expertise and assessment knowledge are critical perspectives necessary to inform current efforts to expand UDL to address equity in learning vis-à-vis the currently limited—albeit still growing—evidence base for UDL. Our community can provide insights into new forms of measurement of engagement (process data), synthesize research findings, and propose new models for communicating levels of efficacy and rigor of research backing.