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A Crosswalk of Universal Design for Assessment and Evaluation used to research the administration of assessments and design of evaluations.
June E. Gothberg, Ph.D. Western Michigan University, 2021
Crosswalk of Universal Design for Assessment and Evaluation (Gothberg, 2021)
Universal Design
Universal Design of Assessment
Universal Design for Evaluation (Gothberg & Sulewski, 2013)
Equitable Use
Useful and marketable to
people with diverse
Inclusive assessment
Opportunity for participation for
all members of the target
To the greatest extent possible, the design:
Represents the participant population, as staff, advisers, and/or co-researchers2.
Prepares for locating diverse participants.
Is transparent with all steps understood; including proper procedures for publishing for
community, cultural, and tribal participants.
Considers context and cultural appropriateness of information gathering methods.
Follows all IRB processes including community, cultural, and tribal protocols.
Uses materials that are simple and accessible with alternate forms available3.
Consent allows participants to understand the plan for data use and dissemination.
Flexibility in Use
Accommodates a wide
range of individual
preferences and abilities.
Precisely defined constructs
Assesses what it is supposed to
assess regardless of student
preferences and abilities.
Evaluation plan shows evidence of preparation to:
Communicate with diverse participants, communication styles, and cultural backgrounds.
Quickly solve problems in regards to individual needs4.
Include a variety of data collection tools to accommodate communication needs5.
Include extra time for participants with slower cognition or language barriers.
Include extra time to observe cultural practices.
Simple and Intuitive Use
Easy to understand,
regardless of the user's
experience, knowledge,
language skills, or current
concentration level.
Accessible, non-biased items
Students are not advantaged or
disadvantaged due to
experience, language skills, etc.
Data collection instruments and materials:
Provide for different communication preferences or needs6.
Are available to people with a variety of reading levels and backgrounds7.
Use simple language, concrete questions, and show cultural competency8.
Meet low vision and color blind requirements9.
Are free from acronyms, jargon, slang, and colloquial terms.
Perceptible Information
Communicates necessary
information effectively to
the user, regardless of
ambient conditions or the
user's sensory abilities.
Amenable to accommodations
Format can be easily adapted to
remove unintended
Sensory issues are addressed10.
Multiple media options are used to present information11.
Printed publications are available immediately or in a timely manner in alternate formats3.
A statement is included about procedures for requesting accommodations or assistance.
Online materials adhere to web accessibility standards (see:
June E. Gothberg, Ph.D. Western Michigan University, 2021
Tolerance for Error
Minimizes hazards and the
adverse consequences of
accidental or unintended
Simple, clear, and intuitive
instructions and procedures
Directions are simple to follow.
Chance of random error is low.
Instruments and protocols:
Are pilot tested with participants who resemble your target audience.
Are easy to understand and respond, even if people don’t read the instructions11.
Avoid “skipping” (e.g. “if you answer no please skip to number 17”).
Avoid lengthy or confusing instructions keeping them to 12 words or less.
Allow different response options for different reading and/or cognitive levels12.
Allow verbal or written responses outside the standard instrument.
Include optional probes or explanations to make questions accessible to a wider audience.
Online options provide a long timeout period for dexterity and processing challenges.
Online options are available to save and return later.
Low Physical Effort
Can be used efficiently and
comfortably, and with a
minimum of fatigue.
Maximum readability and
Items and instructions have
plain language with minimal
verbal complexity.
Location and meetings:
Are accessible to a bus line, in a central location, close to a building with parking, ramps,
and elevators allowing access to wheelchairs.
Are held at times and locations of the participants’ choosing.
Provide comfortable seating options
Allow for break time, shortened time, or multiple sessions.
Include options for collecting data, communicating, and/or sharing information online.
Size and Space for
Approach and Use
Appropriate size and space
is provided.
Maximum legibility
Tests have high contrast, large
fonts and much “white space”.
Site has:
Accessibility for interviews, focus groups, meetings, or other project-related gatherings
Accessible restrooms, the room is quiet, the space is well-lit
Transportation accessibility, with event timed around transportation availability13.
Room for on-site accommodation (e.g., adding a reader, interpreter, or personal assistant)
Universal Design for Learning (UDL) Principles*
1. Provide multiple means of representation
2. Multiple means action and expression
3. Multiple means of engagement
*UDL incorporates Universal Design theory but does not align with the standards above. They are used for assessment contexts.
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