Universal Design for Learning in Pre-K to Grade 12 Classrooms: A Systematic Review of Research


Some researchers have characterized Universal Design for Learning (UDL) as a promising framework to provide a diverse group of students with access to the general education curriculum, but to what extent and how have UDL-based interventions fulfilled that promise? The purpose of this review was to analyze studies that investigated impacts of UDL-based instruction on academic and social outcomes for pre-K to grade-12 students. For the 13 studies that qualified for this review, the authors analyzed how researchers applied UDL principles as well as outcomes and efficacy of UDL-based interventions. Overall, the results of this analysis suggest that UDL-based instruction has the potential to increase engagement and access to general education curriculum for students with disabilities and improve students’ academic and social outcomes. However, the results were mixed; the efficacy of UDL-based interventions varied considerably within and across many studies, with effect sizes ranging from small to large. In addition, although reserachers noted that their interventions were UDL-based, there was considerable variance in how they reported connections between specific UDL guidelines and components of their interventions.


Ok, M. W., Rao, K., Bryant, B. R., & McDougall, D. (2016). Universal design for learning in pre-K to grade 12 classrooms: A systematic review of research. Exceptionality. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1080/09362835.2016.1196450