Nimble Assessment Systems, Inc.Newton, MA 02458
With a 2008 award from the SBIR program at the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) in the U.S. Department of Education (ED), the firm successfully developed NimbleTools. NimbleTools delivers standard versions of assessment instruments and tailors embedded accommodation tools to meet the specific needs of each student. Some of the accommodation tools include a keyboard with custom keyboard overlays, the capacity of the system to read text aloud for students, an onscreen avatar presenting questions in American Sign Language or Signed English, and the magnification of text and images for students with visual impairments. Research on more than 2600 students demonstrated the feasibility and validity of NimbleTools as a method to accommodate to the identified needs of the students being assessed. As well, while controlling for prior performance, findings from math and reading test administrations revealed that students in need of accommodations who used NimbleTools performed better than similar students who used traditional paper-based test accommodations.
On September 9, 2010, Nimble Assessment Systems was acquired by Measured Progress, a New Hampshire-based not-for-profit organization. Measured Progress specializes in developing state- and district-level assessments and provides alternate assessments for students with cognitive disabilities. In addition, Measured Progress offers professional development services and products that assist educators in creating and using assessment to measure student achievement and improve instruction. Measured Progress will incorporate NimbleTools and other tools developed by Nimble Assessment Systems, within its suite of products and services designed to improve the quality of assessment of all students and continues to use NimbleTools for operational test delivery for the NECAP program.
Peer reviewed publications resulting from this R&D:
· Russell, M., Hoffmann, T., & Higgins, J. (2009). NimbleTools: A Universally Designed Test Delivery System. Teaching Exceptional Children.
· Russell, M., Higgins, J., & Hoffmann, T. (2009). Meeting the Needs of All Students: A Universal Design Approach to Computer-Based Testing. Innovate (5) 4. Available at: http://innovateonline.info/pdf/vol5_issue4/Meeting_the_Needs_of_All_Students-__A_Universal_Design_Approach_to_Computer-Based_Testing.pdf
· Russell, M., Kavanaugh, M., Masters, J., Higgins, J., & Hoffmann, T. (2009). Computer-Based Signing Accommodations: Comparing a Recorded Human with an Avatar. Journal of Applied Testing Technology, 10(3). Available at: http://www.testpublishers.org/Documents/090727Russelletal.pdf.
About Nimble Assessment Systems
Since 2004, Massachusetts-based Nimble Assessment Systems, Inc. has specialized in providing accessible computer-based testing tools for students with disabilities and special needs who require accommodations. Nimble was acquired and is now a subsidiary of Measured Progress.