The New Hampshire Department of Education announced two new programs to help educators assess and address student learning when they go back to school this fall. Building on the success of Universal Design for Learning (UDL), the Department has contracted with CAST, the nonprofit education research and development organization that created the Universal Design for Learning framework, to offer two new professional development options for teachers this summer to help them gauge their students’ baseline for the new academic year.
- A free UDL 1 certificate to train educators to differentiate instruction so that it is accessible to all students and all students can make progress. This approach will help teachers design instruction to meet each child were they are when they return in September.
- A free five-part video series on formative assessment to measure what a student does and does not know. This training series will hone those skills for our educators to better serve students returning in September.
“We see achievement gaps when students return every fall. Some students retain most of what they learned the year before, and some lose more of that knowledge,” said Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut. “Given the disruption to student education this spring, students will return to school with much more variation in their content knowledge. That’s why we’re teaming with CAST, to give teachers tools to meet students where they are and work to move them forward.”
Over the past three years, hundreds of New Hampshire educators have received training in UDL. The techniques help teachers identify the needs and challenges of individual students, and design assessments to address achievement gaps. The UDL certificate program and video series will be funded through a $50,000 contract with CAST, which will offer both programs to all New Hampshire educators without charge. Educators will be able to apply both programs toward their professional development requirement for recertification.
“UDL can serve as a foundational instructional strategy for schools looking to provide student-centered, personalized, and flexible pathways to students in their classroom. My competency-based high school has made a commitment to the UDL approach for these and many other reasons.” said Brian Stack, Principal of Sanborn Regional High School
“UDL has proven to be a valuable way for teachers to reach all of the students in their classrooms,” said Dr. Amanda Bastoni, an educational research scientist at CAST. “We’re excited to help expand these techniques to help teachers assess and address gaps in student achievement
The video series will debut on September 1, and will be available free to the public on YouTube. In addition to an introductory video, the series will include four videos customized to student age groups; K-2, 3-5, 6-8, and High School.