Carnegie Mellon University

Eberly Center

Teaching Excellence & Educational Innovation

Design inclusive assessments

Assessments are the primary way for students to demonstrate their learning, and can also help instructors gauge how students learn best. When assessments are designed with a variety of learners in mind, they more accurately capture student progress and learning (Meyer et al., 2014). Here are some strategies for designing inclusive assessments:

  • Offer multiple types of assessments. There are two ways to do this: first, vary the types of assessments used in the course (e.g. instead of having four exams, include written work, quizzes, projects, or other assignments); secondly, allow students to customize or choose their assessment, where appropriate.
    • E.g. If your class typically has a presentation at the end, but your learning objectives do not include oral presentation skills, consider giving students the option to present their knowledge through written words, recorded words, or infographics.
    • E.g. If you assign students a final paper, is there another way to convey the same skills without writing? For instance, a final paper in a political science class on the debt of countries from the South could convey the same information and similar argumentation skill through a podcast, a poster, or an in-class presentation.
  • Provide students with opportunities to practice the skills they need for formal or high-stakes assessments (this is called “scaffolding”). Use in-class activities and low-stakes, informal assessments to check for understanding as well as identify areas that need improvement.
    • E.g. If your learning objectives include oral presentation skills, think about including assignments or activities throughout the semester that involve practicing the skills necessary for oral presentations to help students become comfortable.
    • Make sure to give students regular feedback so they have an accurate sense of their progress towards the learning objectives.
  • [Plug TEL/Canvas/Tech team here for integrating tech into assessment process/using tech to enhance assessment process]



Meyer, A., Rose, D. H., & Gordon, D. T. (2014). Universal design for learning: Theory and practice. CAST Professional Publishing.


GO TO:  Universal Design for Learning  |  Culturally Responsive Teaching