DOVER, N.H., June 18 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Students who require support accessing assessments will have a better and more successful testing experience, thanks to the joint efforts of Measured Progress and Nimble Assessment Systems. The two organizations have entered into a master partner agreement to create and administer assessments that provide appropriate accessibility and accommodations for students with disabilities.
Specifically, the organizations will respond together to requests for proposals for state operational assessments that require the development of Accessible Portable Item Protocol-compliant (APIP) items, as well as computer-based administration of those items. APIP is the product of a consortium of states (Florida, Maryland, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, Utah, and Vermont) that came together to develop the capacity to use a standard item markup language for accessible, computer-based test items. APIP allows states to ensure that test items are accessible for students with a variety of needs and are portable across computer-based delivery systems that apply the APIP standards.
Children with disabilities can make great progress in the classroom when their access needs are met. It stands to reason that an assessment experience that seamlessly meets those access needs will result in a more accurate picture of what the students know and can do. Measured Progress's national leadership in alternate assessment, coupled with the NimbleTools universally designed assessment system, ensures that the assessment process meets the access and accommodation needs of all students.
In addition, computer-delivered accommodations provide a more discreet and comfortable means of access than conventional accommodations, according to Gaye Fedorchak, Education Consultant with the New Hampshire Department of Education. The first time the State of New Hampshire piloted testing with NimbleTools was for a tenth-grade mathematics assessment in 2006.
"One student told us that it was the first time he'd ever been able to do mathematics during a math test," Fedorchak said. "Accommodations delivered privately, by computer, spare students the potentially negative attention that conventional accommodations might draw."
"NimbleTools was designed to provide more accurate assessment for all students. This partnership creates an important opportunity for more students to benefit from the personalized access support built into NimbleTools, and for assessment programs to provide access in a high-quality, efficient, and cost-effective manner," said Nimble Assessment Systems President Michael Russell.
The accessibility and accommodation tools embedded in NimbleTools ensure that students have easy access to accommodations during assessment. Such accommodations range from pre-recorded "read aloud" recordings to print magnification to "masking," which help students to focus on a test question by temporarily hiding all other test elements. (For more information on accessibility tools, please visit Nimble Assessment's Web site, http://www.nimbletools.com/.)
The preferred partnership between Measured Progress and Nimble Assessment Systems represents a blending of the two companies' complementary strengths. Nimble Assessment Systems will handle test administration, including user support, while Measured Progress will conduct all other work, including content development, psychometric analysis, scoring, and reporting.
"This partnership reflects our mutual commitment first and foremost to provide a safe and comfortable testing experience for all children, including those who require accommodations," said Measured Progress President Martin Borg. "Our collaboration also will be of great benefit to schools, districts, and states—a smooth assessment experience yields rich information about student learning, which in turn helps educators to pinpoint curricular areas in need of greater attention."
Based in Newton, Massachusetts, Nimble Assessment Systems, Inc. specializes in computer-based testing, with an emphasis on accessible assessment for all students, particularly those with disabilities and special needs. Nimble was founded in 2005 in response to requests by state departments of education and research organizations to employ highly accessible computer-based test administration and data collection tools developed by the company founders. The company's NimbleTools system delivers a single version of an assessment instrument across a school, district, or state and flexibly tailors embedded accessibility and accommodation tools to meet the specific needs of each individual student. www.nimbletools.com
Measured Progress is a Dover, New Hampshire-based, not-for-profit organization dedicated to student learning and improving instruction in the standards-based classroom. Since 1983, Measured Progress has successfully partnered with more than half of the states across the nation in support of programs that have affected millions of students. The organization develops state- and district-level assessments and is the nation's leading provider of alternate assessment 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. www.measuredprogress.org
SOURCE Measured Progress