UDL Critical Elements

Developed in Collaboration with Boyne City Middle School, Charlevoix-Emmet ISD, Harbor Springs Middle School, Reese Middle School, and the Center for Applied Special Technology (CAST)

Download UDL Critical Elements

Word Doc


Word Doc


Universal Design for Learning (UDL) represents a paradigm shift in education that has the potential to improve outcomes for a broad range of students. MITS, with collaborative partners, has identified four critical elements intended to serve as a foundation for implementation and further research.  Instruction aligned with the framework of UDL must minimally include each of the four critical elements shown below.


Clear Goals

·       Goals and desired outcomes of the lesson/unit are aligned to the established content standards

·       Teachers have a clear understanding of the goal(s) of the lesson and specific student outcomes

·       Goals are communicated in ways that are understandable by every student in the classroom, and can be expressed by them

Inclusive, Intentional Planning

·       Intentional proactive planning addressing distinct student needs

·       Addresses individual differences in background knowledge, affect, strategies, etc. (Consider what students know, strengths and weaknesses, and what engages them).

·       Recognizes that every student is unique and plans accordingly, paying attention to students in the margins (i.e., struggling and advanced) in anticipation that a broader range of students will benefit

·       Addresses the instructional demands including goals, methods, materials, and assessments while considering available resources including personnel

·       Maintaining rigor of the lesson while providing necessary supports

·       Reducing the barriers in the curriculum by embedding supports during initial planning

Flexible methods and materials

·       Teacher uses a variety of media and methods to present information and content

·       A variety of methods are used to engage students (e.g., provide choice, address student interest) and promote their ability to monitor their own learning (e.g., goal setting, self-assessment, and reflection)

·       Students use a variety of media and methods to demonstrate their knowledge

Timely progress monitoring

·       Formative assessments are frequent and timely enough to plan/redirect instruction and support

·       A variety of formative and summative assessments (e.g., projects, oral tests, written tests) are used to assess the learning in the classroom


MITS UDL Critical Elements by MITS is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License