Professor WANG Wen Chung

It is with a deep sense of sadness and regret that the Chair and Board of the Pacific Rim Objective Measurement Society advise of the death of our esteemed Board member and dear colleague, Professor WANG Wen Chung, Chair Professor at the Education University of Hong Kong. Prof Wang quietly passed away on February 15th, 2018 surrounded by his family after a long and painful battle with cancer. His funeral service in Hong Kong on 1 March, was followed by a memorial service at EDUHK, the next day, during which Wang’s daughter, Janice was presented with a plaque acknowledging the PROMS Lifetime Achievement Award honouring her father.

The award was made in recognition of the outstanding contribution to Rasch Measurement made by Professor Wang Wen Chung. The citation reads: “PROMS applauds the sustained effort Professor Wang has made over many years as a theoretician, researcher and teacher. His work has been highly original and at the cutting edge of Rasch Measurement world-wide.” We know from the speech given by Wen-Chung’s son, Peter, that Prof. Wang valued PROMS, and regarded the PROMS Lifetime Achievement Award as one of his most significant achievements.

Prof WANG was too sick to attend PROMS last year, and found out that he had been nominated for the first PROMS Lifetime Achievement Award when he read the Minutes from the 2017 Sabah PROMS Board Meeting: “When I read the PROMS minutes, I am very surprised and grateful to find your nominating me as a recipient of Life-time Achievement Award. I am deeply honoured and appreciate the board”, he modestly messaged. Prof Wang was told that, “We thought our exceptional award should go to our exceptional Rasch scholar.” Wang planned to come to our PROMS 2018 Shanghai meeting to receive the award: “It is my motive to get better.”

Alas, Prof Wang will not make it, and our future meetings will be the sadder and the poorer without him. He will be missed by the broader Rasch measurement and psychometric communities, and by those who worked closely with him in Taiwan and Hong Kong. We will miss his brilliant intellect, his inventive problem-solving, his crystal clear teaching and his generous mentoring of grad students and young academic colleagues.

Wang’s Professorial appointment in Hong Kong, in 2008, was virtually a fait accompli, even before his interview was completed. The interview panel was dazzled by his impressive academic achievements, his open, honest manner, along with his modest personal style. Wen Chung, Rebecca and their children moved onto the campus; and Wang continued his brilliant career as the Associate Vice President (Research and Knowledge Transfer), Chair Professor of Educational Measurement and Co-Director of the Assessment Research Centre at The Education University of Hong Kong. Wang’s distinctive contribution to the measurement world has been the development of Rasch-based models for multidimensional tests, multilevel data structures, higher-order latent traits, testlet items, rater effects, examinee-selected items, wording effects, response styles, differential item functioning, computerized adaptive testing, ipsative data, and so on. Prof Wang has published more than 185 journal articles mostly on Rasch measurement, IRT, cognitive diagnostic models, and related fields.

We have been delighted to have had Wang as our close colleague; his contributions to our field, and his participation in PROMS have been seminally important. PROMS members, his past students and colleagues around the world, will miss Prof Wang Wen Chung now that he is released from his exhausting fight to survive. PROMS Board members extend their heartfelt condolences to Rebecca, Peter and Janice.

Professor Wang's Lifetime Achievement Award