In Remembrance


FrankBBaker2.jpgFrank B. Baker (1927-2018)

Frank B. Baker died on Friday, November 9, 2018, just days before his 91st birthday. He is survived by his wife of 68 years, JoAnn; a daughter, Ann Marie; a son, Christopher (Odette); and two granddaughters, Hannah and Oona.

Following his service in World War II, Frank earned a B.S. degree in 1950, an M.S. in 1954, and a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology and Statistics in 1959 from the University of Minnesota. His doctoral advisor was Cyril J. Hoyt. He was a graduate assistant to Joseph Berkson. In 1962, Frank joined the University of Wisconsin-Madison faculty in the Department of Educational Psychology, retiring from there in 1998. He was a member of the National Council on Measurement in Education, the American Educational Research Association, the American Statistical Association, and the Psychometric Society, having served in multiple capacities including as Associate Editor of Psychometrika.

Frank was an early researcher in the modern psychometric theory known today as item response theory. He published three books relevant to his academic field: “Computer Managed Instruction: Theory and Practice” (1978), “The Basics of Item Response Theory” (1985), and “Item Response Theory: Parameter Estimation Techniques” (1992). His 1992 book was dedicated to Frederic M. Lord with whom he shared his office when Fred was a visiting scholar at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Frank was a prolific researcher, publishing over one hundred peer-reviewed articles and book chapters dealing with item response theory and related statistical topics. He was one of the authors of the 2nd edition of “Educational Measurement” (1971) edited by Robert L. Thorndike.

He always showed his deep respect to the top scholars in educational measurement and psychometrics including, among others, Frederic M. Lord, R. Darrell Bock, Benjamin D. Wright, Fumiko Samejima, Lawrence J. Hubert, Michael T. Kane, Robert J. Mislevy, David Thissen, Wim J. van der Linden, and R. J. de Ayala. He was very much liked by them. He was a wonderful colleague to Joel R. Levin, Michael J. Subkoviak, Ronald C. Serlin, and Allan S. Cohen at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He was also an excellent teacher. His advisees and students include Ibrahim M. Al-Dosary, Ali Al-Karni, Young-Sun Lee, Maria Medina-Diaz, Andrew C. Porter, Tae-Je Seong, Larry Toothaker, James A. Wollack, Deborah J. Harris, Michael R. Harwell, Seock-Ho Kim, and many others.

Frank B. Baker was an exemplary scholar and great mentor to many of us in educational measurement and psychometrics. He will be greatly missed.

James A. Wollack, Seock-Ho Kim, and Allan S. Cohen