Bruno Zumbo

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Bruno Zumbo
BornApril 1966 (age 52)
Years active1987 - to the present
[first published scientific paper appeared in 1987]
Known forDifferential Item Functioning (DIF);
Validity Theory;
Robust and Nonparametric Methods (e.g., Ordinal Reliability Indices);
Pratt Indices for variable ordering;
Classical Test Theory and Measurement Error Models;
TitleDistinguished University Scholar;
Paragon UBC Professor of Psychometrics & Measurement
Academic background
Alma materCarleton University
University of Alberta
Doctoral advisorDonald W. Zimmerman
Academic work
DisciplineApplied Mathematics, Statistics
Sub-disciplinePsychometrics, Measurement
InstitutionsUniversity of British Columbia, Vancouver BC

Bruno D. Zumbo (born 1966) is a Canadian mathematician and social scientist working primarily in the psychological, social and health sciences. He is currently Professor and Distinguished University Scholar, and Paragon UBC Professor of Psychometrics & Measurement[1] at University of British Columbia. He is known for his contributions in the fields of statistics, psychometrics, validity theory, and studies of the mathematical basis of classical test theory and measurement error models.

He currently teaches in the graduate Measurement, Evaluation, & Research Methodology Program with additional appointment in the Institute of Applied Mathematics, and earlier also in the Department of Statistics, at the University of British Columbia (UBC) in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Prior to arriving at UBC in 2000, he held professorships in the Departments of Psychology and of Mathematics at the University of Northern British Columbia (1994-2000), and earlier in the Faculty of Education with adjunct appointment in the Department of Mathematics at the University of Ottawa (1990-1994).


Bruno Domenico Zumbo was born to Italian parents from Calabria and was raised in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Zumbo's parents immigrated from Pellaro, Reggio di Calabria to Prince Rupert, British Columbia, then Edmonton, Alberta. Before immigrating to Canada post war, his father and mother carried on a long tradition of olive oil and wine-making, and small-scale terrace farming of grapes, olives, bergamot oranges, and figs in the hillsides of southern Calabria. Although he excelled and competed as an olympic weightlifter, his passions were always mathematics, romance languages (Italian and French), and philosophy. He speaks English and Italian (including the Calabrese dialect), and reads English, Italian,and French. He has a twin sister and four other siblings.

He completed his B.Sc. at the University of Alberta (Edmonton, AB) and his MA and Ph.D. from Carleton University (Ottawa, ON). His studies reflected his curiosity and diverse interests. With an eye to fostering his talents and interests, the University of Alberta allowed him to take graduate (Masters and PhD) courses in statistics and mathematics while eventually completing his B.Sc. in Psychology. Likewise, in graduate school his professors allowed him to pursue and integrate mathematics, philosophy of science and Psychology. His interests continue to be focused on scientific methodology with a blend of mathematics, social sciences like Psychology, philosophy of science and measurement in science. His doctoral dissertation titled "Statistical Methods to Overcome Nonindependence of Coupled Data in Significance Testing" was under the direction of Prof. Donald W. Zimmerman (Carleton University, Ottawa).

Program of research[edit]

Professor Zumbo is an internationally renowned applied statistician/mathematician, measurement theorist, and research methodologist. His program of research has had wide influence in psychometrics, validity theory, educational and behavioral statistics, and language testing.[2]

  • Over the last 28 years his interdisciplinary program of research has emerged to have broad interdisciplinary impact and as such is well-recognized in a variety of disciplines including psychometrics and measurement, statistics, language testing, educational research, quality of life and well being, health and human development.
  • His research has branched to many areas in statistics, measurement, and scientific methodology. He takes a problem-solving point of view to his research in that the research is not tied to any one area of statistics or measurement. His interests in mathematics focused mostly in analysis (e.g., real analysis, measure theory, metric spaces), with some secondary interests in applications of number theory, abstract algebra and linear algebra. He continues to learn and integrate new ideas and areas of mathematics (and philosophy) as necessary to solve a new scientific problem.
  • As is evident from the list of publications and awards, his program of research is noted for his having addressed cross-disciplinary recurring controversial topics such as theories of measurement validity, measurement invariance, the role of levels (or scales) of measurement in statistics, and the role of hypothesis testing in empirical studies and particularly their lack of robustness to violations of assumptions. His contributions to these debates have highlighted his orientation from the intersection of mathematics, measurement and statistical science with consideration given to philosophy of science and scientific methodology.
  • His program of research is actively engaged in psychometrics for language testing, quality of life and wellbeing, and health and human development. This applied work, in the end, feeds his basic program of research in research methodology and measurement.[3][2]

Scholarly interests[edit]

Doctoral Students, Post-docs, Visiting Scholars[edit]

Doctoral Students (PhD) completed, ordered by date completed - Psychometrics, Statistics, & Mathematical Topics[edit]

Name School
1. Breithaupt, Krista University of Ottawa
2. Owuor, Charles University of British Columbia
3. Rupp, Andre University of British Columbia
4. Witarsa, Petronilla University of British Columbia
5. Ruhe, Valerie University of British Columbia (CCFI, Evaluation Models)
6. Koh, Kim University of British Columbia
7. Barnett, Sharon University of British Columbia
8. Gelin, Michaela University of British Columbia
9. Slocum, Suzanne University of British Columbia
10. Demers, Serge University of Toronto / OISE (co-supervisor with Richard Wolfe)
11. Lloyd, Jennifer University of British Columbia
12. Wu, Amery University of British Columbia
13. Forer, Barry University of British Columbia
14. Gadermann, Anne University of British Columbia
15. Li, Zhen University of British Columbia
16. Nordstokke, David University of British Columbia
17. Guhn, Martin University of British Columbia (Human Development, co-supervisor with Hillel Goelman)
18. Zeisser, Cornelia University of British Columbia
19. Maglio, Asa-Sophia University of British Columbia (Counseling Psychology)
20. Liu, Yan University of British Columbia
21. Ark, Tavinder University of British Columbia
22. Alkhalaf, Arwa University of British Columbia
23. Olvera Astivia, Oscar University of British Columbia
24. Chen, Michelle (Yue) University of British Columbia

Post-Doctoral Research Fellows[edit]

Name Funding Year
Kroc, Ed UBC-Paragon Research Initiative 2016- ongoing
Wei, Junli (Julie) UBC-Paragon Research Initiative 2016- 2017
Pedrosa, Ignacio Spanish Government 2015
Chan, Eric UBC 2010-2013
Liu, Yan UBC 2012-2013
Guhn, Martin Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research

(co-supervised with Dr. Clyde Hertzman)

Franklin, Bradley NSERC Post-doctoral Fellow 2000-2001

Visiting Scholars[edit]

  • Pamela R. Woitschach Mendoza, Complutense University of Madrid, Spain (September 2017 - August 2019)
  • Professor Paula Elosua, University of the Basque Country, Spain (September - December, 2016)
  • Professor Bryan Maddox, University of East Anglia, UK (March–May, 2015; March–April, 2016)
  • Professor Shoichi Matsumura, Ryukoku University, Japan (2007-2008)
  • Professor Sean Mulvenon, University of Arkansas, USA (October 2005)
  • Professor Yuko Shimizu, Ritsumeikan University, Japan (2003-2004)

Awards and recognition[edit]

  • Distinguished University Scholar. Awarded in 2017 this prestigious distinction recognizes exceptional members of UBC faculty who has distinguished themselves internationally in research and/or teaching and learning.
  • UBC Killam Research Prize, Senior Category. Awarded in 2016/2017 winners are nominated by internal and external colleagues and adjudicated at the University level by the President's Faculty Research Major-Awards Committee.
  • Paragon UBC Professorship in Psychometrics and Measurement, 2015-2020. Selected by UBC to lead the $1.8-million project to enhance UBC's standing as a global leader in research and training in the field of the statistical science of measurement.[1]
  • UBC Killam Teaching Prize, 2011/2012 . The university wide prize is awarded annually, from the Killam Endowment Fund, to faculty nominated by students, colleagues, and alumni in recognition of excellence in teaching.
  • Fellow of the American Educational Research Association (AERA), awarded in 2011. Professor Zumbo is the first University of British Columbia (UBC) professor to be selected an AERA Fellow. As AERA notes, Fellows are selected in recognition of their exceptional scientific or scholarly contributions to education research and substantial research accomplishments. AERA Fellows are known both nationally and internationally for their outstanding contributions to education research. American Educational Research Association
  • Research Fellow Award by the International Society for Quality of Life Studies, ISQOLS, awarded in 2010. Professor Zumbo was one of just three scholars in the world who received recognition as a 2010 Research Fellow of ISQOLS. Election to the status of Research Fellow is an indication of a scholar making a substantial contribution to quality of life (QoL) research.
  • Samuel J. Messick Memorial Lecture Award -- awarded in 2005. The award is given in honor of the late Samuel J. Messick, a distinguished research scientist at Educational Testing Service.
  • Excellence in Teaching Award -- University of Northern British Columbia university-wide award, 1998.
  • SSHRCC Research Fellow 1989-1990 Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Research Fellow.

Selected publications[edit]

  • (in press). On the Solution Multiplicity of the Fleishman Method and its Impact in Simulation Studies. British Journal of Mathematical and Statistical Psychology. (with Astivia, O.L.O.)
  • (in press). A note on the solution multiplicity of the Vale-Maurelli intermediate correlation equation. Journal of Educational and Behavioral Statistics. (with Astivia, O.L.O.)
  • (in press). A Note on Using the Nonparametric Levene Test When Population Means Are Unequal. Practical Assessment, Research & Evaluation. (with Shear, B.R., & Nordstokke, D.W.)
  • (in press). Investigating the Performance of Propensity Score Approaches for Differential Item Functioning Analysis. Journal of Modern Applied Statistical Methods. (with Liu, Y., Kim, C., Wu, A.D., Gustafson, P., & Kroc, E.)
  • (in press). Calibration of measurements. Journal of Modern Applied Statistical Methods.  (with Kroc, E.)
  • (2018). In defense of Pratt's variable importance axioms: A response to Gromping. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews (WIREs): Computational Statistics, 10, pp. 1–10. (with Thomas, D.R., Kwan, E.)
  • (2018). The use of latent variable mixture models to identify invariant items in test construction. Quality of Life Research, 27, pp. 1745–1755. (with Sawatzky, R., Russell, L. B., Sajobi. T. T., Lix. L. M., & Kopec, J. A.)
  • (2018). Scoping Review of Response Shift Methods: Current Reporting Practices, and Recommendations. Quality of Life Research, 27, pp. 1133–1146. (with Sajobi, T.T., Brambhatt, R., Lix, L.M., & Sawatzky, R. )
  • (2017). Trending Away From Routine Procedures, Towards an Ecologically Informed 'In Vivo' View of Validation Practices. Measurement: Interdisciplinary Research and Perspectives, 15:3-4, pp. 137–139.
  • (2017). Population Models and Simulation Methods: The Case of the Spearman Rank Correlation. British Journal of Mathematical and Statistical Psychology, 70, pp. 347–367. (with Astivia, O.L.O.)
  • (2017). Understanding and Investigating Response Processes in Validation Research. New York, NY: Springer. (edited with Hubley, A.M.) Book information at Springer Press' website please click
  • (2016). Validity as a Pragmatist Project: A Global Concern with Local Application. In Vahid Aryadoust, and Janna Fox (Eds.), Trends in Language Assessment Research and Practice (pp. 555–573). Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing. (with Stone, J.)
  • (2015). Resolving the Issue of How Reliability is Related to Statistical Power: Adhering to Mathematical Definitions. Journal of Modern Applied Statistical Methods, 14, 9-26. (with Zimmerman, D. W.)
  • (2015). A Methodology for Zumbo's Third Generation DIF Analyses and the Ecology of Item Responding. Language Assessment Quarterly, 12, 136-151. (with Liu, Y., Wu, A.D., Shear, B.R., Astivia, O.L.O. & Ark, T.K.)
  • (2014). Validity and Validation in Social, Behavioral, and Health Sciences. New York, NY: Springer. (edited with Chan, E.K.H.). Book information at Springer Press' website please click
  • (2012). Difference Scores from the Point of View of Reliability and Repeated Measures ANOVA: In Defense of Difference Scores for Data Analysis. Educational and Psychological Measurement, 72, 37-43. (with Thomas, D. R.)
  • (2012). Estimating ordinal reliability for Likert-type and ordinal item response data: A conceptual, empirical, and practical guide. Practical Assessment, Research & Evaluation, 17(3), 1-13. (with Gadermann, A. M., & Guhn, M.)
  • (2008). A Method for Simulating Multivariate Non-normal Distributions with Specified Standardized Cumulants and Intraclass Correlation Coefficients. Communications in Statistics: Simulation and Computation, 37, 617-628. (with Headrick, T. C.)
  • (2008). Statistical Methods for Investigating Item Bias in Self-Report Measures, [The University of Florence Lectures on Differential Item Functioning]. Universita degli Studi di Firenze, Florence, Italy.
  • (2007). Validity: Foundational Issues and Statistical Methodology. In C.R. Rao and S. Sinharay (Eds.) Handbook of Statistics, Vol. 26: Psychometrics, (pp. 45–79). Elsevier Science B.V.: The Netherlands.
  • (2007). Three generations of differential item functioning (DIF) analyses: Considering where it has been, where it is now, and where it is going. Language Assessment Quarterly, 4, 223-233.
  • (2007). Ordinal Versions of Coefficients Alpha and Theta For Likert Rating Scales. Journal of Modern Applied Statistical Methods, 6, 21-29. (with Gadermann, A. M., & Zeisser, C.)
  • (2005). On Optimizing Multi-Level Designs: The Concern For Power Under Budget Constraints. Australian & New Zealand Journal of Statistics, 47, 219-229. (with Headrick, T. C.)
  • (2005). Embedding IRT In Structural Equation Models: A Comparison With Regression Based On IRT Scores. Structural Equation Modeling, 12, 263-277. (with Lu, I. R. R., Thomas, D. R.)
  • (2004). To Bayes or Not to Bayes, From Whether to When: Applications of Bayesian Methodology to Modeling. Structural Equation Modeling, 11, 424-451. (with Rupp, A. A., Dey, D. K.)
  • (2004). Responsible Modeling of Measurement Data For Appropriate Inferences: Important Advances in Reliability and Validity Theory. In David Kaplan (Ed.), The SAGE Handbook of Quantitative Methodology for the Social Sciences (pp. 73–92). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Press. (with Rupp, A. A.)
  • (2003). Comparison of Aligned Friedman Rank and Parametric Methods for Testing Interactions in Split-Plot Designs. Computational Statistics and Data Analysis, 42, 569-593. (with Beasley, T. M.)
  • (2003). Does Item-Level DIF Manifest Itself in Scale-Level Analyses?: Implications for Translating Language Tests. Language Testing, 20, 136-147
  • (2001). The Geometry of Probability, Statistics, and Test Theory. International Journal of Testing, 1, 283-303. (with Zimmerman, D. W.)
  • (1999). A handbook on the theory and methods of differential item functioning (DIF): Logistic regression modeling as a unitary framework for binary and Likert-type (ordinal) item scores. Ottawa, ON: Directorate of Human Resources Research and Evaluation, Canadian Department of National Defense.
  • (1999). An overview and some observations on the psychometric models used in computer-adaptive language testing. In M. Chalhoub-Deville (Ed.), Issues in computer-adaptive testing of reading proficiency, (pp. 216–228). Cambridge UK: Cambridge University Press. (with MacMillan, P. D.)
  • (1998). A note on misconceptions concerning prospective and retrospective power. Journal of the Royal Statistical Society, Series D (The Statistician), 47, 385-388. (with Hubley, A. M.)
  • (1998). (Ed.) Validity Theory and the Methods Used in Validation: Perspectives from the Social and Behavioral Sciences. [Special issue of the journal Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Volume 45, No. 1-3, 509 pages]
  • (1996). Using a measure of variable importance to investigate the standardization of discriminant coefficients. Journal of Educational & Behavioral Statistics, 21, 110-130. (with Thomas, D. R.)
  • (1993). Effect of nonindependence of sample observations on parametric and nonparametric statistical tests. Communications in Statistics: Simulation and Computation, 22, 779-789. (with Zimmerman, D. W., Williams, R. H.)
  • (1993). Coefficient alpha as an estimate of test reliability under violation of two assumptions. Educational & Psychological Measurement, 53, 33-49. (with Zimmerman, D. W., & Lalonde, C.)
  • (1990). CAI as an adjunct to teaching introductory statistics: Affect mediates learning. Journal of Educational Computing Research, 6, 29 -40. (with Varnhagen, C. K.)
  • (1988). Implicit ordinal number knowledge tasks as predictors for number line comprehension: A validation study. Educational and Psychological Measurement, 48, 219-230. (with Kingma, J.)
  • (1987). Relationship between seriation, transitivity, and explicit ordinal number comprehension. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 65, 559-569. (with Kingma, J.)

See Scholarly Interests above for a full list of publications


  1. ^ a b "Bruno Zumbo". Retrieved March 6, 2017.
  2. ^ a b Zumbo, Bruno. "Bruno Zumbo". Retrieved 2017-08-21.
  3. ^ a b "Bruno D. Zumbo". Retrieved March 6, 2017.