'Ronference' honors career of School of Education's Hambleton
It is being billed as a “Ronference,” which may seem like a particularly airy and whimsical way to honor the weighty career of one of the most substantial international contributors to the singularly serious field of psychometrics.
But that is precisely the case as the School of Education prepares a two-day celebration of the work of Distinguished University Professor Ronald Hambleton, chair of the Research and Evaluation Methods Program and co-director of the Center for Educational Assessment, and a central figure in the national psychometric community.
More formally, the Nov. 9-10 event is called “Teach Your Children Well: A Conference to Honor Ronald K. Hambleton,” featuring “one of the most influential, hard-working and prolific” members of the psychometric community.
The term psychometry is not a household word, but as practiced by Hambleton, psychometry has touched the lives of individuals, organizations, states and countries around the world, say conference organizers. Psychometry is nothing less than the theory and techniques of psychological measurements, including measurements of knowledge, abilities, attitudes, personality traits and education achievements.
Hambleton earned his B.A. degree with honors in 1966 from the University of Waterloo in Canada with majors in mathematics and psychology, and an M.A. in 1968 and Ph.D. in 1969 from the University of Toronto with specialties in psychometric methods and statistics. He joined the School of Education faculty in 1970.
In 1994, Hambleton was awarded an honorary doctorate from the faculty of social sciences at the University of Umea in Sweden. He also received the Chancellor's Medal for distinguished scientific research contributions and the School of Education’s Outstanding Teacher Award. He was promoted to the rank of Distinguished University Professor in 1998 – only the 16th appointment to this rank in the 150-year history of the university.
He has directed recently or co-directs currently, research contracts with the College Board, Educational Testing Service, Harcourt Educational Measurement, the Law School Admissions Council, Microsoft, the Massachusetts Department of Education, the National Assessment Governing Board, the National Science Foundation and Pearson Educational Measurement.
The program includes 16 speakers and 12 panelists and discussants for gatherings that begin on Friday morning with names like Differential Item Functioning and end on Saturday evening with a Ron Roast. A full downloadable program schedule is available at www.umass.edu/ronference/#!conference-program, while a roster of speakers and panelists is available at www.umass.edu/ronference/#!invited-presenters.