Skip to main content

Nicole Ofiesh


Senior Research Scientist

Photo of Nicole Ofiesh

Dr. Nicole Ofiesh is a Senior Research Scientist whose primary focus is on the application of UDL to secondary and postsecondary settings, including workforce development. With a background in diagnostic assessments, cognition and learning, she brings expertise in translating brain-based learning to human performance. She is known for saying, "individuals should thrive, not just survive" and draws support for her research endeavors from literature on resilience and human performance.

Her work spans over thirty years as a learning specialist and researcher, most notably in the arena of test accommodations and cognition, beginning in the 1980’s working with adolescents in residential treatment facilities, and more recently as an expert to the United States Department of Justice on this topic. Before coming to CAST, Dr. Ofiesh was Associate Director and Sr. Research Associate at the Schwab Learning Center at Stanford University conducting research on behavior, attention, and test accommodations in postsecondary settings.

She is the proud mother of Mary Jane, who is one fierce ice hockey goalie. Dr. Ofiesh loves nature, birds, and astronomy.


Elise Roy’s TED talk moves me. Her presence, strength, and ability to articulate the power of UDL to help each of us to cultivate our strengths and gifts in society is unparalleled.


Ph.D.,  Special Education, Penn State University,
M.A., Special Eduation, San Francisco State University
BA, Psychology, California State University, Sacramento

A bend in the road is not the end of the road... unless you fail to make the turn.

Helen Keller

Selected Publications

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.

Reiff, H. & Ofiesh, N. (2015). Teaching for The Lifespan: Successfully Transitioning Students with Learning Differences to Adulthood. Corwin: New Jersey.

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. & Mather, N. (2013). Resilience Among Children with Learning Disabilities. In S. Goldstein & R. Brooks  (Eds.) Handbook of Resilience in Children, 2nd Ed. Brooks/Cole: Pacific Grove, CA.

Lazarus, D. & Ofiesh, N. (2007). Navigating the Test Accommodation Process from Secondary to Postsecondary Schools. In Cook, L.  & Cahalan-Laitisus, C. (Eds.), Large Scale Assessment and Accommodations: What Works?  Council for Exceptional Children: Reston, VA. (18pps).

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. (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. (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, Elsevier Science Ltd: Oxford.