Press Release: August 27, 2015
A new partnership among the University of British Columbia (Vancouver Campus), Faculty of Education, Office of the Provost, and Paragon Testing Enterprises (a subsidiary of The University of British Columbia) with a $1.8-million investment over the next 5 years will enhance UBC’s standing as a global leader in research and graduate student training in the field of the statistical science of measurement. This partnership and professorship occurred through an overture and interest between Dr. Blye Frank, Dean of Faculty of Education, and Dr. Donald Wehrung, President and CEO of Paragon Testing and previous Executive Director of the International Student Initiative at UBC. Psychometrics is the pillar of Paragon Testing’s business and UBC is the pillar in psychometrics in Canada, creating much value to both organizations. This initiative will be led by Dr. Bruno Zumbo, who will be named the holder of the newly created “Paragon UBC Professorship in Psychometrics and Measurement”.
The UBC-Paragon partnership will provide student financial support and an opportunity for graduate students focusing on psychometrics to interact with international leaders in testing and language assessment. According to Dean Frank, “This will make UBC’s Faculty of Education a Canadian centre of excellence drawing on visiting scholars and scientists to collaborate with researchers and interact with graduate students in the field”.
“The partnership between UBC and Paragon Testing is the first of its kind for the Faculty of Education, and I am thrilled to be a part of it.
With this funding, I look forward to creating more joint research activities with international collaborators, expanding opportunities for students and young scientists, and fostering an environment that will produce extraordinary scientific results together at the interface of statistics, language testing, and psychometrics”
~ Dr. Bruno Zumbo
This partnership will strengthen his program of research and the Measurement, Evaluation and Research Methodology Program Area within the Department of Educational & Counselling Psychology, and Special Education (ECPS).
Measurement, Evaluation, and Research Methodology (MERM)
The Educational & Counselling Psychology, and Special Education graduate program in Measurement, Evaluation, and Research Methodology (MERM) prepares graduate students as methodological, evaluation, and measurement specialists. The program emphasizes advanced research as applied to educational, psychological, health, and social contexts. MERM is an evolving field that is trans-disciplinary by nature and is at the core of research activities in many of the human and health sciences in the University. MERM classes are in high demand by students from across the Faculty of Education, including Kinesiology, as well as from Commerce, Dentistry, Forestry, Health Studies, Nursing, Psychology, and Social Work.
Paragon Testing Enterprises
Paragon Testing Enterprises was created in 2009 to commercialize UBC’s English language tests. Paragon administers the Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program (CELPIP) test, the Canadian Academic English Language (CAEL) Assessment, and the Language Proficiency Index (LPI) test. In the past five years Paragon has grown very significantly. This growth is evident in the rapid increase in the number of test takers, test centres, and test sittings across Canada; the proliferation of research projects on test performance; the creation of new instructional products and programs; the implementation of major enhancements to test delivery and registration software; and the tripling of both the number of full-time employees and the size of Paragon’s office space.
More About Dr. Bruno Zumbo
Dr. Bruno Zumbo is an internationally renowned research methodologist, measurement theorist, and applied statistician and mathematician. His program of research has had wide influence in language testing, psychometrics, validity theory, and educational and behavioural statistics.
Dr. Zumbo began his academic career, in 1990, as a professor at the University of Ottawa in the Measurement and Evaluation Program with an affiliated appointment in the Department of Mathematics. In 1994, he moved to the then newly opened University of Northern British Columbia where he was Professor of Psychology and Mathematics. In the spring of 2000, he was recruited to the University of British Columbia, in Vancouver, with an eye toward further developing UBC’s Measurement, Evaluation, and Research Methodology (MERM) Program in the Department of Educational and Counseling Psychology, and Special Education. At UBC, his primary appointment is in the MERM Program with additional appointments in the Department of Statistics and the Institute of Applied Mathematics.