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ERIC Number: ED495908
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2006-Sep
Pages: 6
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
Using Systematic Item Selection Methods to Improve Universal Design of Assessments. Policy Directions. Number 18
Johnstone, Christopher; Thurlow, Martha; Moore, Michael; Altman, Jason
National Center on Educational Outcomes, University of Minnesota
The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB) and other recent changes in federal legislation have placed greater emphasis on accountability in large-scale testing. Included in this emphasis are regulations that require assessments to be accessible. States are accountable for the success of all students, and tests should be designed in a way that provides all students an opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge and skills. With the reauthorization of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act in 2004, states are required for the first time to incorporate universal design principles in developing and administering tests, to the extent feasible. Applying the concept of universal design to statewide assessment means that assessments are designed from the beginning and continually refined to result in more valid inferences about performance of students with diverse characteristics. There are many elements involved in creating universally designed assessments. They include making sure that students with disabilities are part of field testing, for example. A major focus of universal design in assessments is making sure that the items included in the assessment are appropriate. There are several methods for selecting items to ensure that they optimize the characteristics of universal design. The purpose of this "Policy Directions" is to provide an overview of these item selection methods, and to suggest that a combination of the methods will produce the better result. Each method has strengths and weaknesses, may lead to different results, and is in different stages of current practice. Although each method has merits, the National Center on Educational Outcomes (NCEO) recommends states employ all methods systematically and in conjunction with each other. A brief list of additional resources is also included. (Contains 4 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, Alexandria, VA.
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: Individuals with Disabilities Education Act; No Child Left Behind Act 2001