Universal Design for Learning (UDL)

Types of Standards

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image from screencast/Amazon.com

In her book UDL Now!, Dr. Katie Novak describes two different types of standards:

Content standards identify concepts that students have to know, while methods standards note tasks that students have to complete.  As teachers, we know that many of the tasks have to be completed by following specific steps, such as writing an essay, solving an algebraic equation, completing a science lab using the inquiry method, or serving a volleyball.  (UDL Now!, pg. 101)

Content Standards ask students to….. Methods Standards ask students to…..
  • Describe
  • Explain
  • Analyze
  • Summarize
  • Identify
  • Give examples
  • Discuss
  • Differentiate
  • Compare and contrast
  • Learn
  • Perform
  • Create
  • Write
  • Sing
  • Use
  • Demonstrate/Prove
  • Solve/Calculate

learn-2405206_1920The two different types of standards lead to different types of and approaches to assessment, as described here:

…content standard require students to internalize information.  Since you can’t directly assess what is in a student’s brain, they must express knowledge explicitly….you have an opportunity to allow them to present their understanding in an engaging way.

Methods standards, on the other hand, have a definite end product in mind.  Because you can’t be so flexible with the task, you have to provide options for scaffolding so all students will be able to complete the task with proficiency.  (UDL Now!, pg. 101)


Screen Shot 2017-08-10 at 1.39.03 PMBefore we can look at our assessments with the goal of making them Universally Designed, we have to do the hard work of identifying the type of standard we are looking at to assess, as the type of standard drives the type of assessment.  The following document is one that I created for the CCSS Standards for 7th grade math:  Unpacking Common Core State Standards for 7th Grade Math

With this document to guide me, now I can see where I can incorporate choice assessments (to assess content standards where there is more flexibility) and where I need to focus on supports so all students can be successful on a formal assessment (for method standards).



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