Christopher Johnstone, Jason Altman , Martha Thurlow, & Michael Moore
All rights reserved. Any or all portions of this document may be reproduced and distributed without prior permission, provided the source is cited as:
Johnstone, C., Altman, J., Thurlow, M., & Moore, M. (2006). Universal design online manual. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota, National Center on Educational Outcomes.
The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 and other recent changes in federal legislation have placed greater emphasis on accountability in large-scale testing. Previously exempt students, many with disabilities, now must be included, monitored, and reported by all states. Because large-scale assessments have such high stakes, it is important to ensure that assessments are an accurate measure of the knowledge and skills of ALL students. To ensure that tests are designed from the beginning with accessibility in mind, Thompson, Johnstone, and Thurlow (2002) developed seven Elements of universally designed assessments, based on research from a variety of fields.
By the end of this manual you will better understand how the following design considerations improve testing for all students:
Providing inclusive assessment populations
Measuring what they are intended to measure
Reducing bias to a minimum
Having clear and understandable instructions and procedures
Ensuring amenability to accommodations
Having comprehensible language
This online document is accompanied by a more detailed "How-To" manual. See A State Guide to the Development of Universally Designed Assessments.
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