Pacific Metrics Corporation (www.pacificmetrics.com), a leading provider of education technology solutions, announces the retirement of long term CEO and principal founder, Howard C. Mitzel. Dr. Mitzel will remain on the company’s Board of Directors, continuing to provide higher level direction and guidance to the company.
Dr. Mitzel Co-founded Pacific Metrics in 2000 to advance the transition of technology for educational assessment into the American classroom. Beginning with the development of sophisticated software for analysis of testing data, Dr. Mitzel architected software used by large testing organizations to support the nascent No Child Left Behind legislation. Pacific Metrics soon moved into online practice tests and then online test administrations as schools began to adopt computers in numbers sufficient to support student testing applications. In 2005, as educational measurement was already emphasizing student testing methods which went beyond filling in bubble sheets, Dr. Mitzel began work on the general architecture of an automated scoring system. These intelligent systems can accurately score student essays like human readers. A U.S. patent was recently awarded for this work to three Pacific Metrics researchers, including Dr. Mitzel. Pacific Metrics now administers and scores hundreds of thousands of student tests each year, and develops products to assist students, schools, and states with their large scale assessment needs.
Under Dr. Mitzels’ guidance, Pacific Metrics’ focus and success in delivering assessment and technology solutions led the company to be selected by both the PARCC and Smarter Balanced consortia in 2011 to provide thought leadership and next generation technology for their Comprehensive Assessment Systems that will be deployed in 2014-15. PARCC’s new summative assessments in English language arts and mathematics will be delivered through an assessment system architected by Pacific Metrics. For Smarter Balanced, Pacific Metrics is providing the open-source Item Authoring and Item Pool (IAIP) application that will be made available to all member states in 2014.
Dr. Mitzel was trained as a cognitive scientist and psychometrician at the University of Chicago following the award of a master’s degree in technology policy from Washington University in St. Louis. He worked as a Sr. Research Scientist at (formerly) CTB McGraw-Hill prior to forming Pacific Metrics. There, he co-developed the most widely used standard setting method in K-12 education in the United States. The Bookmark method was used by states to set most of the state achievement standards for the new NCLB national accountability system from 2001 to 2008. The application of technical methods to enhance and facilitate human judgment is a common thread through nearly all of Dr. Mitzel’s achievements. Dr. Mitzel is especially known for his close and effective collaborations with software engineers, which has stimulated the development of a strong technology group in the company, to complement its nationally known research staff. All of Dr. Mitzel’s major innovations are still in everyday use, including test equating software written 12 years ago, and originally developed for the DOS operating system. A prolific researcher and writer, Dr. Mitzel has co-authored two book chapters in the last three years, drawing on his expertise in automated scoring and standard-setting to advance the field of educational measurement.
When contacted about his retirement plans, Dr. Mitzel said, “As a practitioner of measurement, I look forward to having the time again to collaborate with my many colleagues all over the country, and to serving on Pacific Metrics’ Board of Directors, helping the company continue to innovate and serve the educational community.”
About Pacific Metrics
Pacific Metrics Corporation creates lasting improvements to the assessment and learning environment through the thoughtful use of technology. Headquartered in Monterey, California, Pacific Metrics provides specialized psychometric software and sophisticated online systems to organizations that develop, administer, and score large-scale assessments. The company has achieved recognition for its research-based, technology innovations and for being a leading force in the development of customized, web-based systems. For more information, visit www.pacificmetrics.com.