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Date: October 30, 1996
Harold Gulliksen, Expert in Psychometrics, Dies at 93
PRINCETON, N.J. -- Harold Gulliksen, a professor emeritus of psychology at Princeton University and a retired research advisor with the Educational Testing Service, died of congestive heart failure at his home in Princeton Borough on Sunday. He was 93.
Professor Gulliksen was an expert in psychometrics, particularly in the areas of test theory, psychological scaling, and mathematical models of learning. For over 60 years of his professional career as empirical researcher, pyschodynamic theorist, textbook author and teacher, he was dedicated to the development of psychology as a quantitative rational science. For his many contributions to the field, he was awarded the American Psychological Association's Gold Medal for Life Achievement in Psychological Science in 1991.
Born in Washington, DC, on July 18, 1903, he earned his bachelor's degree in 1926 and his master's degree in 1927 at the University of Washington, Seattle. After subsequent study at the University of Ohio, Gulliksen completed his Ph.D. in psychology at the University of Chicago in 1931. He worked for two years at the Mooseheart Laboratory for Child Research before returning to the University of Chicago, where he served successively as a research assistant in psychology, examiner on the Board of Examinations, assistant and then associate professor of psychology.
During World War II, Gulliksen took a leave of absence from the University of Chicago to direct a research and development project for the Navy by the College Board at its offices in Princeton, NJ. He directed the development of assessment procedures ranging from officer screening tests to performance tests for gun crews. President Truman awarded him the Certificate of Merit for these efforts in 1948.
In 1945, Gulliksen was appointed research secretary of the College Board and professor of psychology at Princeton University. When the Educational Testing Service was founded in 1948, he was named research advisor and director of the ETS Pyschometric Fellowship Program at Princeton. The program provided graduate work in psychological measurement, mathematics, and allied areas of study for a Ph.D. degree at Princeton, with related part-time training at ETS. Gulliksen retired from Princeton University in 1972 and from ETS in 1974.
Among his publications, Professor Gulliksen authored Theory of Mental Tests (1950), a volume widely regarded as the definitive codification of classical test theory. He co-edited Psychological Scaling: Theory and Application (1960) and Contributions to Mathematical Psychology (1964).
Professor Gulliksen was a founding member of the Psychometric Society in 1935 and served on the initial editorial board of the society's journal Pyschometrika . He was managing editor of the journal from 1942 to 1949 and president of the Psychometric Society in 1944. He was also a fellow of the American Statistical Association and the American Psychological Association, and a member of the Institute of Mathematical Statistics.
Professor Gulliksen's wife, Dorothy Palmer Gulliksen, died in 1989. He is survived by two daughters, Eleanor McLauchlin of Arlington, Va., and Kitty Goodrich of Mendota Heights, Minn., six grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
A memorial service will be held Saturday, November 23, at 2 p.m. at the Princeton University Chapel. Memorial contributions may be sent to the Princeton Senior Resource Center, Spruce Circle, Princeton, NJ 08540.