|BACKGROUND: Universal design for
learning (UDL) is an educational framework and set of principles to
provide ALL students equal opportunities to learn. Using UDL principles in
general education and special education classrooms makes curriculum
accessible. Learning is supported; students gain knowledge, skills, and
enthusiasm for learning; and their learning is validly assessed.|
Using the following three principles, UDL embeds flexibility into the
components of the curriculum: goals, teaching methods, instructional
materials and assessments.
Provide multiple and flexible methods of presentation to give students
various ways of acquiring information and knowledge.
Provide multiple and flexible means of expression to provide students
with alternatives for demonstrating what they have learned, and
Provide multiple and flexible means of engagement to tap into learners'
interests, challenge them appropriately, and motivate them to learn.
UDL TOOLKIT: The U.S. Department of Education
Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) has published a toolkit of
information and resources that will help policymakers, education personnel
and parents understand how to implement UDL strategies and practices. This
toolkit is available at http://www.osepideasthatwork.org/ and CDs will be
available shortly through ED Pubs http://edpubs.ed.gov/
HIGHER EDUCATION OPPORTUNITY ACT: Recently the
Higher Education Opportunity Act was passed with numerous provisions
regarding the preparation of educators in early childhood, elementary,
secondary and postsecondary education settings to use the principles of
UDL in their instructional practices. A few key provisions are:
A definition of universal design for learning (the first one in any
A requirement that institutions of higher education and States will
publish a report card that contains a description of activities consistent
with the principles of universal design for learning that prepare teachers
to integrate technology effectively into curricula and instruction.
A requirement in The Teach to Reach grant (which prepares general
educators to teach students with disabilities) that the funding must be
used to provide certain skills including those related to universal design
for learning. There are other grants that specifically list activities
related to universal design for learning as a permissible use of the
A document containing all the UDL provisions in the Act is at
IMPORTANCE: Parents, teachers, school boards,
principals, related service providers, State Directors of Special
Education and many others agree that UDL is needed to improve instruction
and assessment for all students, especially students with disabilities. As
a result NDSS has been able to organize a coalition of 24 national general
education and disability organizations called the National UDL Task Force.
NDSC is also a member of this Task Force.
The fact that UDL is now incorporated in the Higher Education
Opportunity Act is an important first step. The Task Force has already
recommended UDL provisions for the upcoming reauthorization of NCLB and
will recommend provisions for IDEA when its reauthorization process
begins. In addition to focusing on legislation, the Task Force is working
on numerous communication tools and strategies to aid the implementation
of UDL. The UDL Toolkit is part of that communication campaign. The Task
Force is grateful to OSEP for being responsive to our request for this
toolkit. For more information on the Task Force and UDL see
www.udl4allstudents.com and www.cast.org.
For more information on this information bulletin, please contact
Ricki Sabia at rsabia@... or Susan Goodman at Susang1961@....