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ERIC Number: ED495891
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2005-Nov
Pages: 82
Abstractor: ERIC
Considerations for the Development and Review of Universally Designed Assessments
Thompson, Sandra J.; Johnstone, Christopher J.; Anderson, Michael E.; Miller, Nicole A.
National Center on Educational Outcomes, University of Minnesota
Universal design is an approach to educational assessment based on principles of accessibility for a wide variety of end users. Elements of universal design include inclusive test population; precisely defined constructs; accessible, non-biased items; tests that are amenable to accommodations; simple, clear and intuitive procedures; maximum readability and comprehensibility; and maximum legibility. This report describes the development of a "considerations of universally designed assessments" form based on Thompson et al.'s original elements. The report summarizes the process of developing and refining a list of considerations for the universal design of statewide assessments for all students, including students with disabilities and English language learners, provides the original list of considerations from Thompson et al., then describes a validation process, whereby assessment and content area experts participated in a Delphi study. The Delphi method is a structured process of using a series of questionnaires to gather the combined input from a group of persons with expertise related to a specific area or population. The Delphi study illuminated expert consensus on some considerations and disagreement on others. All expert commentary is captured in the text of this paper and in Appendix C (in tabular form), and a revised list of considerations is found in Appendix D. Although the goal of this process was to find design strategies that maximize the accessibility of tests and test items, a larger goal was to create an instrument to guide careful consideration of the elements of test design in order to discover issues in items that may be problematic. Based on the comprehensive work represented in this report, eight recommendations are presented for the use of the considerations of universal design at all stages of test development: (1) Incorporate elements of universal design in the early stages of test development; (2) Include disability, technology, and language acquisition experts in item reviews; (3) Provide professional development for item developers and reviewers on use of the considerations for universal design; (4) Present the items being reviewed in the format in which they will appear on the test; (5) Include standards being tested with the items being reviewed; (6) Try out items with students; (7) Field test items in accommodated formats; and (8) Review computer-based items on computers. (Contains 3 tables.)
National Center on Educational Outcomes. University of Minnesota, 350 Elliott Hall, 75 East River Road, Minneapolis, MN 55455. Tel: 612-626-1530; Fax: 612-624-0879; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: Special Education Programs (ED/OSERS), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: National Center on Educational Outcomes, Minneapolis, MN.; Council of Chief State School Officers, Washington, DC.; National Association of State Directors of Special Education, Washington, DC.
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A