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Universal Design for Learning

Research of assessment in higher professional training
Publication date: 01 September 2015

Nowadays there is much enthusiasm for Universal Design for Learning as a vision in education. This educational framework starts from the principle that impediments are taken away by considering various learning styles of students with regard to their educational development. Thus, diversity appears to be the standard: the standard student does not exist. Nevertheless, right now many people wonder whether it is possible to also offer diverse assessment methods to students. In this project, the researchers are, therefore, searching for an answer to the question of whether diversity in tests and assessments is possible in order to enable students to comply with the standards of higher education qualifications.

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Every classroom in higher professional education consists of a wide range of students. These students all have different (cultural) backgrounds, different capacities or special educational needs.  But how does one design education in such a way that diversity is met? The educational framework of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) forms the backbone. UDL starts from the principle that study impediments are taken away by taking the various learning needs, possibilities and talents of students into consideration in the development of the education. The educational framework can be applied to the course level, but also to the setup of a curriculum.

In this respect, the dilemma for the assurance of quality of assessment plays a part. After all, the quality assurance of assessment and safeguarding the final qualification level has become an important theme in higher professional training over the past few years. This was also initiated by renewed accreditation demands as well as legislation. The question may be raised whether diversity of assessments and assessment methods is possible in order to be able to comply with the standards of higher education qualifications?

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