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Equitable STEM Instruction and Assessment: Accessibility and Fairness Considerations for Special Populations STEM EL UDL

Guzman-Orth, Danielle; Supalo, Cary A.; Smith, Derrick; Lee, Okhee; King, Teresa C.
Publication Year:
Report Number:
ETS Research Report
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), Accessibility, Fairness, Students with Disabilities, English Learners (EL), Professional Development, Equity, Test Accommodations, Standardized Testing, Pedagogy, Universal Design for Learning (UDL), Cognitive Disabilities, Physical Disabilities


The landscape for STEM instruction is rapidly shifting in the United States. Attention toward STEM instruction and assessment opportunities is increasing. All students must have opportunities to gain access to the STEM content and show what they know and are able to do. We caution that attention to fairness and accessibility is critical for students from special populations, particularly English learners and students with disabilities. Opportunities for equitable access to STEM instruction and assessment are diminished without accessibility. In this report, we use an assets-based perspective to discuss and reframe common misconceptions and challenges as opportunities. We argue that attention to accessibility at the onset of STEM instruction and assessment is the pivotal foundation for fair opportunities in STEM. We highlight key opportunities and conclude with recommendations for improved fairness and access in STEM.

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