Everyone is searching for strategies to evoke quality learning while supporting successful performance on high stakes tests. I wrote about knowing your learners to support the pursuit of this magical combination. In that post, we walked through the 4 phases of learning (Acquisition, Fluency, Maintenance, and Generalization) and I shared a quick example about multiplication facts. In this post, I want us to dig deeper into the Generalization phase, because it is one of the keys to student success. Especially in how it relates to UDL.
One of the difficulties with the UDL instructional framework is making the connection between multiple means of expression (many ways for the learner to demonstrate knowledge acquisition) and performance on high stakes testing that only allows students to respond ONE way (e.g., multiple choice, short answer, true/false questions). Unfortunately there are times our learners do not get credit for knowledge that they have acquired because of the limited scope of this type of assessment. We have all heard the phrase “don’t teach to the test” which I whole-heartedly agree. However, I firmly believe we should teach how to answer content questions in the manner the questions are asked. This is where Generalization comes to play.