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Bob Dolan

Senior Innovation Scientist
Photo of Bob Dolan

As Senior Innovation Scientist, Bob applies his expertise in neuroscience, learning science, assessment, instructional design, UX design, and programming to the challenge of providing students with flexible and effective learning opportunities and teachers with the resources and supports to make this happen. Since 2000, Bob has designed, implemented, and evaluated technology-based learning and assessment solutions with emphases on cognition, accessibility, and usability.

Bob is now in his second incarnation at CAST, having served as senior research scientist from 2000-2007. Following this first stint at CAST, he joined Pearson as senior research scientist where he worked across instruction and assessment, designing new learning products and solutions and improving existing ones, focusing on accessibility, adaptive learning, analytics, and formative assessment. Since 2013, Bob has been consulting as Diverse Learners Consulting, providing expertise in research and business development in K-16 and adult learning, industrial and organizational psychology, and medical software development. Still continuing his consulting work, Bob rejoined CAST in 2018.

Bob has served as principal investigator on research projects funded by the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Education, and private foundations. Prior to working in the educational technology field, Bob spent ten years in medical research and software engineering. He currently lives with his family in western Massachusetts where he likes to dance, climb, and coach ultimate frisbee.

My Inspiration

My mission is to help people find their brilliance, especially those whose faith in themselves has been challenged by limited beliefs. Two quotes that remind me why this work is so important and challenging.

Diversity may be the hardest thing for a society to live with, and perhaps the most dangerous thing for a society to be without.

William Sloane Coffin Jr.


It is not our differences that divide us. It is our inability to recognize, accept, and celebrate those differences.

Audre Lorde


B.S., Cornell University
Ph.D., MIT

Selected Publications

Dolan, R. P., & Burling, K. S. (2018). Computer-based Testing in Higher Education. In C. Secolsky (Ed.), Handbook on Measurement, Assessment, and Evaluation in Higher Education (2nd ed.; pp. 370-384). New York: Routledge.

Dolan, R. P., Burling, K., Harms, M., Strain-Seymour, E,. Way, W. & Rose, D. H. (2013) A Universal Design for Learning-based Framework for Designing Accessible Technology-Enhanced Assessments (Research Report). Iowa City, IA: Pearson.

Dolan, R. P. (2012). Adaptive Learning: Formative Assessment for the Digital Age. Pearson Research Newsletter, 5(3), 3-4.

Dolan, R. P., Goodman, J., Strain-Seymour, E, Adams, J. & Sethuraman, S. (2011). Cognitive Lab Evaluation of Innovative Items in Mathematics and English Language Arts Assessment of Elementary, Middle, and High School Students (Research Report). Iowa City, IA: Pearson.

Way, W. D., Dolan, R. P., & Nichols, P. (2009). Psychometric Challenges and Opportunities in Implementing Formative Assessment. In H. L. Andrade & G. J. Cizek (Eds.), Handbook of Formative Assessment (pp. 297-315). NY: Routledge.

Dolan, R. P., & Hall, T. E. (2007). Developing accessible tests with universal design and digital technologies: Ensuring we standardize the right things. In L. L. Cook & C. C. Cahalan (Eds.), Large-scale Assessment and Accommodations: What Works (pp. 95-111). Arlington, VA: Council for Exceptional Children.

Dolan, R.P. Hall, T.E., Banerjee, M. & Chun, E.J. (2005). Applying Principles of Universal Design to Test Delivery: Effect of Computer-based Read-aloud on Testing of High School Students with Learning Disabilities. Journal of Technology, Learning & Assessment,3(7), 4-32.

Dolan, R.P. & Rose, D. (2000). Accurate assessment through Universal Design for Learning. Journal of Special Education Technology, 15(4).

Selected Presentations

Innovative Items in English Language Arts: Reading Comprehension

Innovative Items in Math: Function Graphs

Innovative Items in Science: Sorting
Brief overviews of the Pearson research efforts to evaluate student complex knowledge and skill through technology-enhanced assessments.

Applying Universal Design to Innovative Items
Brief overview of the Pearson/CAST collaborative effort to develop UDL-based guidelines for technology-enhanced assessments.

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