Using the Universally Designed Assessment Tool

Want to know more about how to use this tool? Read further to learn  more about how to navigate the tool and what it has to offer.


Purpose of tool:

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) advocates for the use of universal design for learning principles in assessment design, including alternate assessments for students with significant cognitive disabilities. The tool is designed to assist assessment designers, developers, and researchers in planning how to incorporate and self-evaluate their implementation of UDL principles in large-scale assessments.The tool was developed from lessons learned from several projects incorporating UDL in large-scale assessment, including the Dynamic Learning Maps® (DLM®) Alternate Assessment System and the I-SMART Enhanced Assessment Grant. We hope this resource provides an option for anyone involved in assessment development to apply the tool in their own settings. Feel free to submit examples of how you incorporate UDL principles in large-scale assessment! Use the Submit Ideas page to send us your thoughts and feedback. Use the Contact Us page to ask questions and connect with us.


Using the tool:

The tool organizes information according to CAST’s UDL Guidelines, version 2.2. Use the filters to narrow your results based on your interests. Each card highlights examples and nonexamples of implementing each UDL guideline and checkpoint. The numbers correspond to each UDL Guideline and Checkpoint. Specific accessibility considerations are also included with the example.


Click on the Ways to Evaluate page to learn more about how to evaluate UDL implementation when designing, developing, and delivering an assessment.


Two different perspectives on using the tool:

Familiar with the UDL framework? Looking for a specific UDL application, such as how to incorporate goal-setting in assessment?

Want to explore UDL implementation in large-scale assessment, but you’re not sure where to start?

  • You can use the filter to go right to the UDL guideline you’re interested in and start exploring examples of how the UDL framework was incorporated in assessment design and delivery.
  • Check out the Ways to Evaluate page for some considerations on how to evaluate if the UDL Guidelines were implemented as intended.
  • You can start with the “power strategies” filter, which allows you to consider some strategies that overlap with several UDL checkpoints.
  • Filter the results by the specific assessment topic that brought you to the tool.
  • New to UDL? Check out the UDL Guidelines from CAST.


More about the UDL Guidelines

Here are some quick descriptions of the UDL Guidelines to help you narrow your focus and interest.

Recruiting Interest

Getting (and keeping) students’ attention in an assessment

Sustaining Effort and Persistence

Getting (and keeping) students' interest and motivation to continue an assessment


Considering students' ability to monitor their own emotions and motivation during an assessment


Providing options for students to take in and interact with assessment content

Language & Symbols

Providing multiple ways to present assessment content


Presenting assessment information in a way that helps students process new information and build on what they already know

Physical Action

Providing options for students to use assistive technologies during an assessment

Expression & Communication

Providing multiple ways for students to respond to assessment content and show what they know

Executive Functions

Considering students' ability to monitor their progress and set goals within an assessment