Date
17 June 2019

Design assessments to enable students to demonstrate their understanding

Suggestion for implementing the strategy ‘Planning using UDL in intermediate and secondary settings’

Align design to UDL

Align design to UDL

This video outlines potential barriers or challenges students may face that are unrelated to what is being assessed.

Support success

Support success

Discuss with students what support they need to demonstrate their understanding in assessments.

Consider: 

  • possible barriers hidden in the physical environment, for example, unfamiliar layout of room, lighting, temperature
  • possible barriers hidden in the resources and materials, for example, cluttered presentation, hard-to read diagrams, unclear layout, hard-copy only
  • approaches to managing time allocations, such as calendar tools and visual timers
  • approaches to managing anxiety
  • approaches to maintaining concentration
  • negotiating breaks
  • use of digital technologies such as text-to-speech and predictive text
  • pre-teaching specific assessment/exam skills such as how to approach multiple choice questions
  • identify whether SAC application needs to be made for NCEA.

Design assessments with students

Design assessments with students

Wayne Rangiruna describes the impact of student–teacher collaboration in assessment design.

Utilise the flexibility built into NCEA

Utilise the flexibility built into NCEA

NCEA is flexible.

Design assessments to suit the nature of the learning being assessed, as well as the varied characteristics and experiences of the students.

Avoid one-size-fits-all approaches as they will create unnecessary barriers for some students.

Consider:

  • multiple forms of assessment, for example, demonstration, video, audio, poster, written, multiple choice
  • active reflection – students spend time, individually and together, considering how they can demonstrate their learning
  • what supports are needed to enable all students to have equal access, for example, screen reader, reader writer, more time
  • student needs when giving feedback, for example, comments on Google Docs, face-to-face, videoing and analysing assessment tasks together – this could include: dance, drama, music, speeches. 
  • available exemplars with explanation and examples of what achieved, merit, and excellence looks like, for example, annotate NZQA assessments so they are meaningful for your students.

Source: Inclusive practice in secondary schools: Ideas for school leaders (opens in a new tab/window)

Reflection questions

Reflection questions

Consider the following questions in your own context.

  • How do I evaluate the knowledge and skills that are directly related to learning goals and expectations?
  • How do I ensure assessments are accessible, flexible, ongoing, and used to inform teaching and learning?
  • Do I provide multiple means for students to express their thinking? How could I strenthen this?
  • Can I co-construct more assessments with students whenever possible?
  • Are all students offered the tools and approaches they need to be successful (text to speech, Reader and/or Writer, digital version, additional time)?

Source: Adapted from CAST UDL curriculum self-check (opens in a new tab/window)

Useful resources

Useful resources

Website

Top 10 UDL tips for assessment

Publisher: CAST

Visit website

Website

Know students better: 15 tools for formative assessments

Read time: 21 min

Publisher: Learning in Hand

Visit website

Next steps

More suggestions for implementing the strategy “Design considerations in secondary settings”:

Return to the guide “Universal Design for Learning”

Guide to Index of the guide: Universal Design for Learning

Strategies for action:

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