NCEO - National Center on Educational Outcomes

Universally Designed Assessments

Publications and Other Universal Design Resources

NCEO Resources

Online resources available at NCEO's Web site (the publications are listed chronologically, with the most recent first; Policy Directions will give a general overview of the issues with other publications providing greater depth):

  • A Principled Approach to Accountability Assessments for Students with Disabilities (Synthesis Report 70)
    HTML document /PDF document
  • Characteristics of States' Alternate Assessments Based on Modified Academic Achievement Standards in 2010-2011 (Synthesis Report 85)
    HTML document / PDF document
  • Don't Forget Accommodations! Five Questions To Ask When Moving to Technology-based Assessments NCEO (NCEO Brief #1)
    HTML document / PDF document
  • Meeting the Needs of Special Education Students: Recommendations for the Race-to-the-Top Consortia and States (Arabella Advisors)
    PDF document
  • Student Think Aloud Reflections on Comprehensible and Readable Assessment Items: Perspectives on What Does and Does Not Make an Item Readable (Technical Report 48) HTML document / PDF document
  • A State Guide to the Development of Universally Designed Assessments HTML document / PDF document
  • Universal Design Online Manual HTML document
  • Using the Think Aloud Method (Cognitive Labs) to Evaluate Test Design for Students with Disabilities and English Language Learner (Technical Report 44) HTML document / PDF document
  • Using Systematic Item Selection Methods to Improve Universal Design of Assessments (Policy Directions 18) HTML document / PDF document (2006)
  • Considerations for the Development and Review of Universally Designed Assessments (Technical Report 42) HTML document / PDF document (2005)
  • 2005 State Special Education Outcomes: Steps Forward in a Decade of Change HTML document / PDF document (2005)

For reports before 2005, see NCEO's Archived Publications.


Additional Resources

Cortiella, C. (2009). A parentís guide to universal design for learning.  New York: National Center for Learning Disabilities.

Dolan, R. P., Burling, K.S., Harms, M., Beck, R., Hanna, E., Jude, J., Murray, E.A., Rose, D.H., & Way, W. (2009). Universal design for computer-based testing guidelines. Iowa City, IA: Pearson.

Elliott, S. N., Kettler, R. J., Beddow, P. A., Kurz, A., Compton, E., McGrath, D., Bruen, C., Hinton, K., Palmer, P., Rodriguez, M., Bolt, D. & Roach, A. (2010). Effects of using modified items to test students with persistent academic difficulties. Council for Exceptional Children, 76(4), 475-495.

Johnstone, C. J., Thompson, S. J., Miller, N. A., & Thurlow, M. L. (2008). Universal design and multi-method approaches to item review. Educational Measurement: Issues and Practice, 27(1),25-36.

Ketterlin-Geller, L. R. (2008).Testing students with special needs: A model for understanding the interaction between assessment and student characteristics in a universally designed environment. Educational Measurement: Issues and Practice, 27(3), 3-16.

Laitusis, C. C. (2007). A variety of approaches for studying accommodations on assessments (pp.73-81). In Educational Testing Service (Eds.), Accommodating students with disabilities on state assessments: What works? Princeton, NJ: Educational Testing Service.

Leighton, J., Heffernan, C., Cor, M., Gokiert, R., & Cui, Y. (2008). An experimental test of student verbal reports and expert teacher evaluations as a source of validity evidence for test development. Edmonton, Canada: University of Alberta - Edmonton, Centre for Research in Applied Measurement and Evaluation.

Russell, M. & Kavanaugh, M. (Eds.). Assessing Students in the Margins. Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing.

Thurlow, M. L., Johnstone, C. J., & Ketterlin-Geller, L. R. (2008). Universal design of assessment. In S. E. Burgstahler & R. C. Cory (Eds.), Universal design in higher education: From principles to practice (pp. 73-81). Cambridge, MA: Harvard Education Press.