Learners differ in the ways that they can navigate a learning environment and express what they know. For example, individuals with significant movement impairments (e.g., cerebral palsy), those who struggle with strategic and organizational abilities (executive function disorders), those who have language barriers, and so forth approach learning tasks very differently. Some may be able to express themselves well in written text but not speech, and vice versa. It should also be recognized that action and expression require a great deal of strategy, practice, and organization; this is another area in which learners can differ. In reality, there is not one means of action and expression that will be optimal for all learners; thus providing options for action and expression is essential. For greater detail, please refer to the CAST UDL Guidelines on Expression.
How do I ask my students to show what they know?
Fundamentals in Practice: Knowing that students have preferences for how they express themselves, (orally, written, and visually), consider providing multiple ways for students to demonstrate their competency. This increases the likelihood of their success and ultimately, the effectiveness of how you measure their learning.
Take-Away UDL Strategy: UDL Course Rubrics
What: Scoring tool that explicitly represents the performance expectations for an assignment. Divides the assignment into component parts and provides clear descriptions of each component, at varying levels of mastery.
Why: Enhanced achievement and student satisfaction (Robyler & Wiencke, 2003); Reliable formative and summative assessment tool (Montgomery, 2002).
How: Consider major elements embedded in any given assignment. Define components and evaluation parameters.