Mike Russell, PhD
Thomas Hoffmann, MFA
Senior Development Leader
Jennifer Higgins, M.Ed.
Director of Field Operations
Nimble Assessment Systems, Inc. (Nimble) specializes in computer-based testing, with an emphasis on accessibility and accommodations for students with disabilities and special needs. Recognizing the rapid growth in computer-based testing that will occur during the next 10 years and the challenges that computer-based testing pose for students with disabilities, Nimble created NimbleTools. NimbleTools is a computer-based test administration system that flexibly adapts the user interface to provide students with appropriate accessibility and accommodations. Tools specifically designed to meet the needs of students are incorporated directly in the system, avoiding the need for schools to purchase separate software or to configure computers so that external software can interact with the test delivery system. Embedding accessibility and accommodation tools in the system guarantees that tools will be available to all students across a state, that the tools will function properly for the test, and that the tools will provide accommodations in a standardized, controlled manner for all students.
Nimble Assessment Systems, Inc. was founded in 2005 by Tom Hoffmann and Mike Russell. Nimble’s work began by developing a computer-based test delivery system that provided a read aloud accommodation. This work was performed for the New Hampshire State Department of Education and resulted in a system that was used to deliver the 2006 Grade 10 Mathematics tests to approximately 500 students. The use of the computer-based read aloud accommodation version resulted in 2-fold increase in the number of students who were eligible for a read aloud accommodation opting to use the accommodation for the actual test.
Since the successful NH statewide pilot, Nimble received funding from the National Science Foundation to expand the accommodations provided by its test delivery system. This work led to the development of two tools for magnification of test items (one for students with mild vision needs and one for students with low vision requiring greater magnification), and three tools for item masking. These tools were subjected to feasibility and small-scale efficacy studies in schools in Florida.
Based on feedback from the feasibility and efficacy studies, and from several state assessment programs, directors of special education services, and leaders in the field including Martha Thurlow of the National Center for Educational Outcomes, Jerry Tindal (University of Oregon), and several researchers specializing in assistive technologies at CAST, several additional accessibility and accommodation tools were added to NimbleTools.
Nimble continues to research and expand the possibilities that computer-based tests can offer students, parents, teachers, and administrators.
Nimble was purchased by Measured Progress, Inc. in September of 2010. It is now a division within that company, known as the Nimble Innovations Lab.