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: https://minutefund.umass.edu/project/6373/donate?des_id=111492.
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.
University of Massachusetts Amherst
April 28, 2022