UDL Principle II--Action & Expression

What Students Demonstrate

4. Provide options for physical action, including 1) vary the methods for response and navigation; 2) optimize access to tools and assistive technologies. 5. Provide options for expression and communication, including 1) use multiple media for communication; 2) use multiple tools for construction and composition; 3) build fluencies with graduated levels of support for practice and performance. 6. Provide options for executive functions, including 1) guide appropriate goal-setting; 2) support planning and strategy development; 3) facilitate managing information and resources; 4) enhance capacity for monitoring process.

UDL Principle II: Provide Multiple Means of Action and Expression

Action and expression refers to how students demonstrate what they have learned in your course. To bridge the gap between what students know and what they can demonstrate, this principle encourages instructors to consider the following:

1.  Provide Options For Physical Action

2.  Provide Options For Expression And Communication

Much of student action and expression takes place in the classroom. Consider the following UDL-informed strategies you might implement in your course, with links to instructional technologies that can support your teaching:


Provide multiple means for student participation. For example, encourage classroom discussion through the use of personal response systems, small group activities, pair-share, 1-minute papers, or other Classroom Assessment Techniques (CATs) that give students more than one way to interact in class.

Teaching Tools

Use a variety of media and tools to facilitate instruction. For example, offer lecture capture to help students review and playback your in-class lectures, or develop a MediaKron site to guide students through curated materials in the digital humanities.

Assessment Strategies

Watch this video on UDL and Assessment from UDL On Campus.

When developing assessments in your course, it’s important to remember that variability is the norm in teaching – in other words, not everybody learns, interacts, participates, and thinks in the same way. Consider the following example:

A student in an American History course has dyslexia. The assessment requires students to respond in essay format to describe the factors that led to the American Civil War.

The key in this example is the concept of construct relevance, which refers to tailoring assessments to evaluate student progress only on their progress toward learning the construct and not evaluating non-construct activities. In the above example, the course assessment measures not only the historical content knowledge, but also measures abilities related to organization, style, spelling, and other writing-related activities that may be challenging for a student with dyslexia. For instructors, it’s important to distinguish between construct-relevant and non-construct-relevant activities in assessments – or in this example, determining whether the writing skills required for the assessment are relevant to the learning outcomes of the course.

Drawing from a UDL framework, an instructor might provide opportunities for the student to express their ideas about the factors leading to the American Civil War through storytelling, a podcast, an oral exam, or a class presentation rather than responding in writing. This allows the student to assess the student’s knowledge of historical content independent of writing skills. If developing writing skills were a core learning outcome of the course, the instructor could work with the student and the Connors Family Learning Center to develop a modified writing activity that appropriately scaffolds the assessment and takes into consideration the student’s specific needs.

3. Provide Options For Executive Functions


CAST (2011). Universal design for learning guidelines version 2.0. Wakeeld, MA: Author.