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Nicole Ofiesh, PhD

Photo of Dr. Nicole Ofiesh, Executive Director, Schwab Learning Center and UDL Innovation Studio
Executive Director, SLC, Founder and Director, UDL Innovation Studio and Senior Research Scientist, CAST
563 Salvatierra Walk Rm. 305

Nicole Ofiesh, Ph.D. is a cognitive behavioral scientist with expertise in learning disorders and attention. She intersects this knowledge with an understanding of context and culture to research and teach how people learn. She believes teaching how people learn is critical to the reduction of stigma associated with learning disorders, broad discrimination on high stakes tests and key to preparing all learners for the needs of the 21st century. Her early research on the science of test accommodations, speed and reading fluency brought her to her current research in universally designed assessment.  

She is Director of the Schwab Learning Center and Founder & Director of the UDL Innovation Studio, a hub where researchers, faculty, students, and technology developers can work together to develop ideas to educate all students as they prepare for the lifespan.  She has held faculty and research positions at Stanford University, Penn State University, Providence College, University of Arizona and Notre Dame de Namur University, where she was Program Director of Special Education and Department Chair of Teacher Education. She is the author of Teaching for the Lifespan Corwin, 2016).

Email Nicole at




Referred Journals

Ofiesh, N., & Bisagno, J. (2016). Learning differences, cognitive diversity and examinations in higher education: bringing disability services and faculty together, Part one. The Journal of the Association on Higher Education and Disability.

Ofiesh, N., Moniz, E., & Bisagno, J. (2015). Voices of university students with ADHD and test taking: Behavior, needs, and strategies. Journal of Postsecondary Education and Disability, 28(1), 109-120.

Shinn, E., & Ofiesh, N. S. (2012). Cognitive diversity and the design of classroom tests for all learners. Journal of Postsecondary Education and Disability, 25(3), 227-245.

Ofiesh, N., & Bisagno, J. (2009). Test validity and test accommodations. Learning Disabilities: A Multidisciplinary Journal, 15(3).

Ofiesh, N. (2009). Students with LD and high stakes testing. Learning Disabilities: A Multidisciplinary Journal, 15(3).

Ofiesh, N. (2007). Math, science, and foreign language accommodations for postsecondary students with learning disabilities: Evidence-based decision making at the postsecondary level. Learning Disabilities Research and Practice.

Ofiesh, N., Rojas, C., & Ward. R. (2006). Applying principles of universal design to the assessment of student learning. Journal of Postsecondary Education and Disability, 19(2), 173-181.

Ofiesh, N. (2006). Response to intervention: Why we need comprehensive evaluations as part of the process. Psychology in the Schools, 43(8), 883-888.

Ofiesh, N., Mather, N., & Russell, A. (2005). Using speeded cognitive, reading, and academic measures to determine the need for extended test time among university students with learning disabilities. Journal of Psychoeducational Assessment, 23, 35-52.

Ofiesh, N., Hughes, C., & Scott, S. (2004). Extended test time and postsecondary students with learning disabilities: A model for decision making. Learning Disabilities Research and Practice, 19, 57-70.

Ofiesh, N. S., Hughes, C., & Scott, S. S. (2004). Extended test time and postsecondary students with learning disabilities: A model for decision making. Learning Disabilities Research & Practice, 19(1), 57-70.

Ofiesh, N., & Hughes, C. (2002). How much time? Extended test time for college students with learning disabilities: A review of the literature, Journal of Postsecondary Education and Disability, 16(1), 2-16.

Ofiesh, N., Rice, C., Long, E., Merchant, D., & Gajar, A. (2002). Service delivery to postsecondary students with disabilities: a nationwide survey of technology use, College Student Journal, 36(1), 94-108.

Ofiesh, N. S. (2000). Using processing speed subtests to predict the performance of college students with learning disabilities on extended time exams. Journal of Postsecondary Education and Disability, 14(1), 39-56.

Ofiesh, N. S., & McAfee, J. (2000). Results of a nationwide survey on using psychoeducational evaluations for LD service delivery in postsecondary settings. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 33(1), 14–25.

McNaughton, D., Hughes, C., & Ofiesh, N. (1997). Proofreading for students with learning disabilities: Integrating computer and strategy use. Learning Disabilities Research and Practice, 12(1), 16-28.

Wolfe, P. S., Boone, R. B., & Ofiesh, N. S. (1996). Self-advocacy preparation of consumers with

disabilities: A national perspective of ADA training efforts. Journal of the Association for Persons with Severe Handicaps, 21(2), 81-87.



          Reiff, H., & Ofiesh, N. (2017). Teaching for the lifespan: Successfully transitioning studentswith learning differences to adulthood. Translated into Chinese by Heilongjian Educational     


Reiff, H., & Ofiesh, N. (2016). Teaching for the lifespan: Successfully transitioning students with learning differences to adulthood. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin.

Chambers, A., & Ofiesh, N. (2014). Self-advocacy and self-awareness. In N. Mather & L. Jaffe (Eds.), Woodcock-Johnson IV: Reports & recommendations (4th ed.). Riverside.

Ofiesh, N., & Mather, N. (2013). Resilience among children with learning disabilities. In S. Goldstein & R. Brooks (Eds.), Handbook of resilience in children (2nd ed.). Pacific Grove, CA: Brooks/Cole.

Ofiesh, N. (2010). When the child with specific learning disabilities grows up. In N. Mather & L. Jaffe (Eds.), Cases in assessment of individuals with disabilities.

Lazarus, D., & Ofiesh, N. (2007). Navigating the test accommodation process from secondary to postsecondary schools. In L. Cook & C. Cahalan-Laitisus (Eds.), Large scale assessment and accommodations: What works? (p. 18). Reston, VA: Council for Exceptional Children.

Mather, N. & Ofiesh, N. (2005). Resilience among children with learning disabilities. In S. Goldstein & R. Brooks (Eds.), Handbook of resilience in children. Pacific Grove, CA: Brooks/Cole.

Ofiesh, N. (2004). Technology for students with learning and behavioral disabilities. In T. Scruggs & M. Mastropieri (Eds.), Research in secondary schools: Advances in learning and behavioral disabilities (Vol. 17). Oxford: Elsevier Science Ltd.


Other Publications

Colker, R., Golden, C., Kaiser, S., Mather, N., & Ofiesh, N. (2015). Report of the best practices panel for test accommodations on standardized exams. the United States Department of Justice, Office of Civil Rights.

Ofiesh, N. (2004, October). Interview on implications of the ADA’s interpretation of high functioning adults with LD. Disability Compliance in Higher Education.

Ofiesh, N., (2001, Winter) Extended test time for students with LD, Rhode Island Transition Link, Vol. 1(3).

Ofiesh, N. Contributing Author: (2001) Rhode Island IEP guidebook, Rhode Island State Department of Education.

Ofiesh, N. (2003, April). Interview on extended test time, Disability Compliance in Higher Education Vol. 8(9).


Invited Keynotes & Presentations

Blackorby, J., & Ofiesh, N. (2017). Universal Design for Learning: A Primer. Putting the Pieces Together: Secondary Learning Summit. Palo Alto Unified School District.

Hoeft, F., Ansari, D., Cushen-White, N., Ofiesh, N. (2017, January). Using the Neuroscience of Learning Difficulties to Interpret and implement to 504 accommodations. Pre-conference workshop on Learning and the Brain Conference, San Francisco, CA.

Ofiesh, N. (2016, March). Can You Test Better than Your Potential? The Movement Toward Universally Designed Assessments in Higher Education: Association of Higher Education and Disability Ireland. University City Dublin, Dublin, Ireland.

Ofiesh, N. (2016, January). The Efficacy of Technology in Teaching Reading to Students. Annual meeting for Mindplay, Inc., Tucson, AZ.

Ofiesh, N. (2015, December). Test Accommodations, Universal Design, and Students with Learning Disabilities. Children’s Health Council, Palo Alto, CA.

Ofiesh, N. (2015, July). From Time to Design: Why We’re Still Talking About Extended Time. Working for disability equality in higher education – the global perspective The National Association of Disability Practitioners in Higher Education – United Kingdom. University of Manchester.

Ofiesh, N. (2010, February). Universal Design in Higher Education. Mills College Annual Diversity Committee Speaker for 2010: presentation to president and faculty of Mills College, Oakland, CA.



2016-present: Member, Board of Directors: Notre Dame Elementary School, Notre Dame, CA

2016-present: Member, Advisory Board, Magical Bridge Foundation, Palo Alto, CA

2014: Elected as Fellow of the International Academy for Research in Learning Disabilities

2008-2011 & 2014: College Board (SAT), New York, New York: Disability Consultant

1997-2017: Educational Testing Service (ETS), Consultant to Office of Disability Policy

2013-present: Advisory Board member: Compass High School (private school for students with LD), San Mateo, CA.

2012-2014: Children’s Health Council, A Stanford University Affiliate, Palo Alto, CA: Consultant

1991-1992: Outstanding Teacher Award: Skyline College Disabled Student Services Program

1992: Outstanding San Francisco State Graduate Student Scholarship: Pacific Graduate School of Psychology