Frederic M. Lord

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Frederic M. Lord
BornNovember 12, 1912
DiedFebruary 5, 2000
EducationDartmouth College
University of Minnesota
Princeton University
Spouse2, including Muriel Kendall
Children3 sons
RelativesNathan Lord (great-great-grandfather)

Frederic Mather Lord (November 12, 1912 – February 5, 2000) was a psychometrician for Educational Testing Service. The SAT, GRE, GMAT, LSAT and TOEFL are all based on Lord's research.

Early life[edit]

Lord was born on November 12, 1912, in Hanover, New Hampshire. His great-great-grandfather, Nathan Lord, served as the sixth president of Dartmouth College, from which Lord graduated with a bachelor's degree in Sociology in 1936.[1] He later earned a master's degree in Educational Psychology from the University of Minnesota, followed by a PhD in Psychology from Princeton University in 1951.[1][2]


Lord first worked for the Carnegie Foundation in 1944.[1][2] By 1950, he began working for the Educational Testing Service (ETS).[2] He was the source of much of the seminal research on item response theory,[3] including two important books: Statistical Theories of Mental Test Scores (1968, with Melvin R. Novick, and two chapters by Allan Birnbaum), and Applications of Item Response Theory to Practical Testing Problems (1980).

Lord's research shaped the SAT, GRE, GMAT, LSAT and the TOEFL.[1][2] Lord was called the "Father of Modern Testing" by the National Council on Measurement in Education.[4]

Personal life and death[edit]

Lord was married twice. He had three sons with his first wife. His second wife was Muriel Kendall.[1]

Lord died on February 5, 2000, in Naples, Florida, at 87.[1][2]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Steinberg, Jacques (February 10, 2000). "Frederic Lord, Who Devised Testing Yardstick, Dies at 87". The New York Times. Retrieved October 26, 2018.
  2. ^ a b c d e "Frederick Lord; Pioneer In Testing". The Los Angeles Times. February 16, 2000. p. A22. Retrieved October 26, 2018 – via
  3. ^ ETS Research Overview
  4. ^ "NCME News: Frederic Lord, Father of Modern Testing, Dies at 87". Archived from the original on 2006-08-21. Retrieved 2008-02-28.