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UDL Guidelines - Version 2.0: Research Evidence

Checkpoint 4.1: Vary the methods for response and navigation

II. Provide Multiple Means of Action and Expression

Physical Action


Most of the experimental studies on providing options in the mode of physical response are concentrated on the improvements to learning made possible by providing keyboarding and voice recognition options for several types of students: typically achieving students, students who have high incidence learning disabilities (e.g. dyslexia) or students who have specific writing disabilities (e.g. dysgraphia). In contrast, there are no experimental research studies that show evidence of improved learning for students with severe motor disabilities. This is remarkable since the advantages of physical and motor options (e.g. expanded keyboards, single switch devices, or other assistive technologies, etc.) for students with physical disabilities are typically considered the most enabling of options. These advantages are undoubtedly considered so self-evident that adequate experimental studies – on learning - have not been conducted. Scholarly reviews and opinion pieces are primarily limited to reports on comparative techniques and technical advances for mobility and dexterity rather than improvements in learning.

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Experimental and Quantitative Evidence:

Bangert-Drowns, R. L. (1993). The word processor as an instructional tool: A meta-analysis of word processing in writing instruction. Review of Educational Research, 63(1), 69-93.

Crealock, C., & Sitko, M. (1990). Comparison between computer and handwriting technologies in writing training with learning disabled students. International Journal of Special Education, 5(2), 173-183.

Dalton, D. W., & Hannafin, M. J. (1987). The effects of word processing on written composition. Journal of Educational Research, 80(6), 338-342.

Dalton, B. D., Herbert, M., & Deysher, S. (2003). Scaffolding students' response to digital literature with embedded strategy supports: The role of audio-recording vs. writing student response options. 53rd Annual Meeting of the National Reading Conference.

Geoffrion, L. D. (1982). The feasibility of word processing for students with writing handicaps. Journal of Educational Technology Systems, 11(3), 239-250.

Goldberg, A., Russell, M., & Cook, A. (2003). The effect of computers on student writing: A meta-analysis of studies from 1992 to 2002. Journal of Technology, Learning, and Assessment, 2(1), 1-24.

Hetzroni, O. E., & Shrieber, B. (2004). Word processing as an assistive technology tool for enhancing academic outcomes of students with writing disabilities in the general classroom. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 37(2), 143.

Higgins, E. L., & Raskind, M. H. (1995). Compensatory effectiveness of speech recognition on the written composition performance of postsecondary students with learning disabilities. Learning Disability Quarterly, 18(2), 159-174.

Jones, D., & Christensen, C. A. (1999). Relationship between automaticity in handwriting and students' ability to generate written text. Journal of Educational Psychology, 91(1), 44-49.

Jones, I. (1994). The effect of a word processor on the written composition of second-grade pupils. Computers in the Schools, 11(2), 43-54.

Joram, E. (1992). The effects of revising with a word processor on written composition. Research in the Teaching of English, 26(2), 167-193.

Lange, A. A., McPhillips, M., Mulhern, G., & Wylie, J. (2006). Assistive software tools for secondary-level students with literacy difficulties. Journal of Special Education Technology, 21(3), 13-22.

Langone, J. (1996). The differential effects of a typing tutor and microcomputer-based word processing on the writing samples of elementary students with behavior disorders. Journal of Research on Computing in Education, 29(2), 141-158.

Lewis, R. B., Graves, A. W., Ashton, T. M., & Kieley, C. L. (1998). Word processing tools for students with learning disabilities: A comparison of strategies to increase text entry speed. Learning Disabilities Research and Practice, 13(2), 95-108.

MacArthur, C. A. (1998). Word processing with speech synthesis and word prediction: Effects on the dialogue journal writing of students with learning disabilities. Learning Disability Quarterly, 21(2), 151-166.

MacArthur, C. A., & Graham, S. (1987). Learning disabled students' composing under three methods of text production: Handwriting, word processing, and dictation. Journal of Special Education, 21(3), 22-42.

Owston, R. D. (1992). The effects of word processing on students. Research in the Teaching of English, 26(3), 249-276.

Quinlan, T. (2004). Speech recognition technology and students with writing difficulties: Improving fluency. Journal of Educational Psychology, 96(2), 337-346.

Roberts, K. D. (2005). The use of voice recognition software as a compensatory strategy for postsecondary education students receiving services under the category of learning disabled. Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation, 22(1), 49-64.

Rosenbluth, G. S., & Reed, W. M. (1992). The effects of writing-process-based instruction and word processing on remedial and accelerated 11th graders. Computers in Human Behavior, 8(1), 71-95.

Stoner, J. B., Beck, A. R., Bock, S. J., Hickey, K., Kosuwan, K., & Thompson, J. R. (2006). The effectiveness of the picture exchange communication system with nonspeaking adults. Remedial & Special Education, 27(3), 154-165.

Wetzel, K. (1996). Speech-recognizing computers: A written-communication tool for students with learning disabilities?. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 29(4), 371-380.

Wolfe, E. W., Bolton, S., Feltovich, B., & Niday, D. M. (1996). The influence of student experience with word processors on the quality of essays written for a direct writing assessment. Assessing Writing, 3(2), 123-147.

Scholarly reviews and expert opinions:

Access Board. (2001). Section 508: New federal standards. Closing the Gap, 20(1), 1-34.

Balagopal, S., & Young, P. (Dec. 2001/Jan. 2002). Increasing independence in inclusive settings. Closing the Gap, 20(5), 1-16.

Duerstock, B. S. (2006). Accessible microscopy workstation for students and scientists with mobility impairments. Assistive Technology : The Official Journal of RESNA, 18(1), 34-45.

George, C. L., Schaff, J. L., & Jeffs, T. (2005). Physical access in today's schools: Empowerment through assistive technology. In D. Edyburn, K. Higgins & R. Boone (Eds.), Handbook of special education technology research and practice (pp. 355-377). Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin: Knowledge by Design, Inc.

Peterson-Karlan, G. R., Parette, H. P., & Center, S. E. A. T. (2007). Supporting struggling writers using technology: Evidence-based instruction and decision-making, National Center for Technology Innovation.

Quenneville, J. (2001). Tech tools for students with learning disabilities: Infusion into inclusive classrooms. Preventing School Failure, 45(4), 167-170.

Sanderson, A. (1999). Voice recognition software. A panacea for dyslexic learners or a frustrating hindrance? Dyslexia, 5, 114-118.

Sitko, M. C., Laine, C. J., & Sitko, C. (2005). Writing tools: Technology and strategies for struggling writers. In D. Edyburn, K. Higgins & R. Boone (Eds.), Handbook of special education technology research and practice (pp. 571-598). Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin: Knowledge by Design.

Wadsworth, D., Donna, F., & Knight, D. (1999). Preparing the inclusion classroom for students with special physical and health needs. Intervention in School and Clinic, 34(3), 170.

Last Updated: 02/01/2011

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