Opinion
Education Letter to the Editor

‘Universal Design’ Concept and Multiple Measures

November 27, 2007 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

To the Editor:

The philosophy of “universal design for learning,” which advocates creating lessons and materials flexible enough to accommodate different learning styles, is a welcome remedy for one-size-fits-all instruction (“‘Universal Design’ Concept Pushed for Education,” Oct. 31, 2007). Universal design should apply to assessment as well as instruction, but high-stakes testing undermines “multiple, flexible methods of expression.” Maryland’s graduation test, for example, will rely solely on multiple-choice questions beginning May 2009. Even a combination of multiple-choice and short written responses on a high-stakes test is not flexible and does not meaningfully qualify as “multiple methods.”

The expert panel on assessment of the Forum on Educational Accountability called for universal design as one of its recommendations for overhauling the federal No Child Left Behind Act. It also proposed using multiple forms of assessment to enhance both flexibility and intellectual depth.

Local assessments that include classroom-based evidence are the best way to implement universal design and effectively employ multiple measures. Such assessments must be guided and monitored to ensure high quality and equity. Nebraska does this for its statewide system of local assessments, and Wyoming for its graduation assessments.

Congress should recognize that universal design, multiple assessments, and local flexibility support one another, and implement the forum’s assessment and accountability recommendations.

Monty Neill

Co-Executive Director

National Center for Fair & Open Testing

(FairTest)

Cambridge, Mass.

A version of this article appeared in the November 28, 2007 edition of Education Week as ‘Universal Design’ Concept And Multiple Measures

Events

Jobs Virtual Career Fair for Teachers and K-12 Staff
Find teaching jobs and other jobs in K-12 education at the EdWeek Top School Jobs virtual career fair.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Reading & Literacy Webinar
Science of Reading: Emphasis on Language Comprehension
Dive into language comprehension through a breakdown of the Science of Reading with an interactive demonstration.
Content provided by Be GLAD
English-Language Learners Webinar English Learners and the Science of Reading: What Works in the Classroom
ELs & emergent bilinguals deserve the best reading instruction! The Reading League & NCEL join forces on best practices. Learn more in our webinar with both organizations.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Briefly Stated: February 7, 2024
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated: January 31, 2024
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
9 min read
Education Briefly Stated: January 17, 2024
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
9 min read
Education In Their Own Words The Stories That Stuck With Us, 2023 Edition
Our newsroom selected five stories as among the highlights of our work. Here's why.
4 min read
102523 IMSE Reading BS
Adria Malcolm for Education Week