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Anthony DeMarco

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Is the Common Core negating the purpose of UDL?

The purpose of UDL curricula is not simply to help students master a specific body of knowledge or a specific set of skills, but to help them master learning itself—in short, to become expert learners. Expert learners have developed three broad characteristics. They are: a) strategic, skillful and goal directed; b) knowledgeable, and c) purposeful and motivated to learn more. Designing curricula using UDL allows teachers to remove potential barriers that could prevent learners from meeting this important goal.


Closing Statement from Anthony DeMarco

Question: Common Core and Universal Design for Learning: How is the Common Core allowing students multiple means of representative, action, expression and engagement using informational text?

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    May 3 2014: To facilitate the discussions and discourse, an article from Wikipedia is provided:

    Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is an educational framework based on research in the learning sciences, including cognitive neuroscience, that guides the development of flexible learning environments that can accommodate individual learning differences.

    Recognizing that the way individuals learn can be unique, the UDL framework, first defined by the Center for Applied Special Technology(CAST) in the 1990s, calls for creating curriculum from the outset that provides:
    1) Multiple means of representation to give learners various ways of acquiring information and knowledge,
    2) Multiple means of expression to provide learners alternatives for demonstrating what they know, and
    3) Multiple means of engagement to tap into learners' interests, challenge them appropriately, and motivate them to learn. Curriculum, as defined in the UDL literature, has four parts: instructional goals, methods, materials, and assessments. UDL is intended to increase access to learning by reducing physical, cognitive, intellectual, and organizational barriers to learning, as well as other obstacles. UDL principles also lend themselves to implementing inclusionary practices in the classroom.

    Universal Design for Learning is referred to by name in the Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA) of 2008 (Public Law 110-315). It is also mentioned in the 2004 reauthorization of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), which in turn refers to a legal definition of the term in the Assistive Technology Act of 1998. The emphasis being placed on equal access to curriculum by all students and the accountability required by IDEA 2004 and No Child Left Behind legislation has presented a need for a practice that will accommodate all learners.
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      May 3 2014: Do you think the Common Core allows students multiple means of representation, expression and engagement?
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        May 4 2014: The short answer is YES.

        However, I have attended seminars and meetings on Common Core State Standards and based on the determination of many educators, it will be a challenge for many teachers and administrators to implement Common Core requirements and it will even be more challenging for the majority of students to meet the Common Core standards.

        Will new Common Core standards succeed in centralizing student learning?:

        "JOHN MERROW: Yes, if I could weigh in, that a fundamental distinction between the United States and most other countries is, we — we test teachers. Now, the kids take the tests, but we’re testing teachers.

        Most countries are assessing kids to figure it out. I was looking at a PISA sample test and an Oregon high school math test. The high school math question was, a certain valley has six snakes. They double in number every year. In how many years will there be 96 snakes? Well, that’s just counting on your fingers.

        A PISA test, by a comparison, says, a hike up to the top of Mount Fuji is 18 kilometers. You can — a boy can — a man can go 1.5 kilometers an hour on the way up, three kilometers an hour on the way down. The down — the park closes at 8:00. At what hour in the morning does he have to leave to be back before the park closes?

        Now, it’s not multiple choice. There’s a whole lot of mathematics. The Oregon test was a multiple-guess question. We simply don’t ask enough of our kids. That’s a huge part of the problem…"


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