Remembering Past Measurement Leaders

Remembering Past Measurement Leaders

Remembering Ron Hambleton

It is with profound sadness that I give the news that Ron Hambleton, one of the giants in the field of educational measurement, passed away this morning. Ron was a great friend and mentor to so many of us and made more contributions to educational measurement than perhaps anyone in our short history.


Although best known for his pioneering work in item response theory, Distinguished Professor Hambleton made significant contributions to criterion-referenced testing, cross-lingual assessment, computerized-adaptive testing, test development, standard setting, and differential item functioning, among many other areas.

He was President of NCME, the International Test Commission, and Division 5 of APA; and had won Career Awards from all these organizations as well as from the Association of Test Publishers. He was also a Fellow of APA and AERA, and a member of the National Academy of Education. Ron founded the Research, Educational Measurement, and Psychometrics program at the University of Massachusetts Amherst where he served as advisor and mentor to many of whom are now leaders in the educational measurement field. However, he was a role model and mentor to so many more than UMass students and alumni. So many of us credit Ron for supporting our careers and for the many contributions he made not just to measurement, but to our personal lives.

Ron was passionate about measurement, and passionate about life. He was inspiring and cared deeply about people. He always said he couldn’t believe he got paid for what he did, because he enjoyed it so much. There are so many heart-warming stories I could tell about Ron, but the one that comes to mind today is when I was at a party at his home, holding my two-year old son in one hand, and a glass of red wine in the other. The glass of wine soon spilled on his completely white couch. Ron looked down at his brand-new, but ruined, couch and laughed.

It is his laughter I will remember, and miss, most of all. He was more than a great psychometrician—he was a great person. I am sure there will be memorials for Ron in the near future, and I look forward to honoring his memory with you.

For those of you who would like to make a donation in Ron’s memory, the Hambleton Legacy Fund, which supports UMass graduate student assistantships and travel, can be found at this link:

More importantly however, I encourage you also to raise a glass in his honor and remember his warm, supportive spirit that touched so many of us and made the educational measurement world a better place.

Stephen Sireci
University of Massachusetts Amherst
NCME Past-President
April 28, 2022

Remembering Matthew Gaertner

Dear NCME Community,

It is with profound sadness and grief that I share the news that Matthew Gaertner passed away last week. Words which have often served as my allies are failing me as I attempt to process the shock of this news.

Matt was one of those people that fills the room with his energy and enthusiasm. He was an integral part of the NCME Community, and served NCME in so many different capacities after earning his PhD in Education at the University of Colorado Boulder in 2011 (where, perhaps needless to say, he was one of my favorite students). Chair of the membership committee, chair of the website committee (Matt almost single-handedly pushed the NCME website into the 21st century), co-editor of a book in the NCME Book Series (Preparing Students for College and Careers). He was the first person I thought of when it came time to appoint program chairs for 2022 NCME Conference.

Matt was, simply put, a star. And he was still very much in ascent, which makes this news all the more devastating. For the past three years he held the position of Director of Assessment Research and Innovation at WestEd, and in that context he did it all—winning competitive federal grants for assessment research projects, attracting new staff, leading standard setting research and activities, coordinating the revisions to the NAEP frameworks for math and reading, and always thinking deeply and creatively about the role that assessment and measurement can play in teaching and learning. Matt was passionate about equity and social justice, and equally passionate that assessment could be a positive force in facilitating these goals.

Just last year Matt received WestEd’s Paul D. Hood Award for Distinguished Contribution to the Field, which recognizes staff for their outstanding bodies of work in research, development, and service. It is WestEd’s highest and most prestigious honor for research excellence, and unsurprisingly, it was not something Matt ever mentioned to me. Matt was so often the brightest person in the room or on a call, yet he was always modest and self-deprecating to a fault. He had a dry sense of humor that was always lurking close to the surface, and when he turned it on—which was often—he could have you laughing until you cried. I was so proud of Matt. I loved him. I’m really going to miss him, and I know I’m not alone.

Matt is survived by his wife Freya and their two daughters, Corinne and Genevieve.

In the near future we will be finding ways to properly commemorate, celebrate and remember Matt. His loss is going to reverberate.  For now, we grieve together as a community.

Derek Briggs
NCME President
August 16, 2021

Remembering Rose McCallin

It is with profound sadness that I share with you the news of Rose McCallin’s passing on November 12, 2020. Rose was a long-time NCME member, served on various NCME committees, and most recently, Rose was an NCME Board of Director from 2017 – 2020. I had the pleasure of serving on the Board with her and was truly impressed by this amazing individual. Rose was kind, loving and passionate. Her authenticity and dedication inspired many of us who had the privilege to know her. I will miss Rose, miss her free spirit, her generosity, and her quirky sense of humor. Rose McCallin’s obituary can be found at this link.

Ye Tong
NCME President
November 12, 2020