UDL School Implementation & Certification Criteria (UDL-SICC)

Professional Learning

Element 1: UDL professional learning is goal driven.

To ensure fidelity of UDL implementation, professional learning aligns with school-wide and practitioner UDL goals that are developed in response to ongoing school-wide and classroom data. Professional learning goals should directly address identified learning gaps.

Professional learning is goal-driven and is:

  • designed by or facilitated by professionals knowledgeable about UDL;

  • based on school-wide, data-driven UDL implementation goals;

  • used to address professional goals to improve UDL practices; and

  • dynamic and improved in response to evolving UDL implementation and student outcome data.

Element 2: UDL professional learning is flexible in addressing staff variability.

To ensure continuous improvement in professional learning practices, the UDL leadership team designs professional learning opportunities to meet the needs of school-wide and individual staff goals by providing flexible pathways to support variability in the staff.

Professional learning is designed to:

  • meet the needs of school-wide and individual staff professional learning goals;

  • reduce barriers to learning in anticipation of staff variability;

  • provide flexible pathways, including options and choices, toward meeting professional learning goals.


Supercharge Your Professional Learning

5 ways to drive professional learning the UDL way

Element 3: UDL professional learning supports expert learning.

Professional learning experiences are designed to help educators become expert learners themselves--that is, purposeful, motivated, resourceful, knowledgeable, strategic, and goal-directed.

Professional learning: 

  • is designed to cultivate the qualities of expert learning;

  • includes strategies and practices educators can use to support/develop expert learners in the classroom; and

  • includes strategies and practices that promote expert educators

Element 4: UDL professional learning integrates job-embedded support.

Professional learning is designed to ensure that educators are provided with the best opportunities to successfully transfer new skills into practices that meet the needs of all learners. Professional learning models are supported, collaborative, and based on authentic problems of practice. They engage educators and help make explicit the connection between professional learning and its application to daily practice.

Professional learning is job-embedded and uses:

  • a systematic model for job-embedded continuous improvement. This may include, but is not limited to, various instructional coaching models, peer-mentoring, instructional rounds, instructional cycles, lesson study, and professional learning communities.

  • personnel who have the requisite UDL knowledge and skills;

  • data to inform continuous support plans; and

  • authentic problems of practice.


UDL Learning Walks (Montgomery County Public Schools)

Improving Teaching Practice with Instructional Coaching

Research and Reference for Professional Learning

Borko, H. (2004). Professional development and teacher learning: mapping the terrain. Educational Researcher, 33, 8, 3–15.

Courey, S. J., Tappe, P., Siker, J., & LePage, P. (2012). Improved lesson planning with Universal Design for Learning (UDL). Teacher Education and Special Education, 36, 7–27. https://doi.org/10.1177/0888406412446178

Craig, S. L. (2020). Effects of coaching on universal design for learning implementation (Order No. 28024556). Available from ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global. (2445998955).

Craig, S. L., Smith, S. J., & Frey, B. B. (2019). Professional development with universal design for learning: supporting teachers as learners to increase the implementation of UDL. Professional Development in Education, 1-16.

Cwikla, J. (2003). The Importance of Setting Learning Goals to Investigate the Effectiveness of Teacher Professional Development. Educational Research Quarterly, 27(2), 43-59.

Day, C., & Gu, Q. (2007). Variations in the conditions for teachers’ professional learning and development: sustaining commitment and effectiveness over a career. Oxford Review of Education, 33(4), 423–443. doi:10.1080/03054980701450746 

Desimone, L. M. (2009). Improving impact studies of teachers’ professional development: Toward better conceptualizations and measures. Educational Researcher, 38(3), 181–199. doi:10.3102/0013189x08331140

Garet, M. S., Porter, A. C., Desimone, L., Birman, B. F., & Yoon, K. S. (2001). What makes professional development effective? Results from a national sample of teachers. American Educational Research Journal, 38(4), 915–945. doi:10.3102/00028312038004915

Gravani, M. (2007). Unveiling professional learning: Shifting from the delivery of courses to an understanding of the processes. Teaching and Teacher Education, 23, 688-704.

Hullinger, A. and DiGirolamo, J. (2020) A professional development study: The lifelong journey of coaches, International Coaching Psychology Review, 13(1), pp.7-18.

Jasso, L. K. (2018). Teacher Perceptions of Effective Instructional Coaching in Professional Development Support (Order No. 10976245). [Doctoral dissertation, Concordia University Irvine] ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global.

King, M. B., & Newmann, F. M. (2000). Will teacher learning advance school goals? Phi Delta Kappan, 81(8), 576-580.

Knight, J., & Cornett, J. (2009). Studying the Impact of Instructional Coaching. American Educational Research Association. , San Diego, California.

Parsons, S. A., Vaughn, M., Scales, R. Q., Gallagher, M. A., Parsons, A. W., Davis, S. G., … Allen, M. (2017). Teachers’ instructional adaptations: A research synthesis. Review of Educational Research, 88, 205–242. doi:10.3102/0034654317743198

Scott, L., Temple, P., & Marshall, D. (2015). UDL in online college coursework: Insights of infusion and educator preparedness. Online Learning, 19, 99-119.

Spooner, F., Baker, J. N., Harris, A. A., Ahlgrim-Delzell, L., & Browder, D. M. (2007). Effects of training in Universal Design for Learning on lesson plan development. Remedial and Special Education, 28 108–116.

Webster-Wright, A. (2009). Reframing Professional Development Through Understanding Authentic Professional Learning. Review of Educational Research, 79(2), 702–739.

Yoon, K. S., Duncan, T., Lee, S. W.-Y., Scarloss, B., & Shapley, K. (2007). Reviewing the evidence on how teacher professional development affects student achievement. In IES Regional Educational Laboratory Program. U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance, Regional Education.

Zhang, L., Carter, R. A., Zhang, J., Hunt, T. L., Emerling, C. R., Yang, S., & Xu, F. (2021). Teacher perceptions of effective professional development: insights for design. Professional Development in Education, 1–14.