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Vale Emeritus Professor Don Spearritt AM, 1921-2013

Don SpearrittFounding Member of AARE, Emeritus Professor Don Spearritt, AM, MA, MEd (Qld), MEd (Sydney), EdD (Harvard) passed away on the 16th of November 2013, at the venerable age of 92.

Don delivered the 7th Radford Lecture in 1984, and was awarded Life Membership of the Association in 1989.  He was elected a Fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia in 1971, and appointed a member of the Order of Australia in 1994.

Don’s career spanned appointments at the Australian Council for Educational Research, and the University of Sydney, where he was appointed as a Senior Lecturer in 1960,  and an Associate Professor in 1964.  In 1968 he was appointed to a new Chair in Education, which he held until his retirement in 1986.  Additionally, he held visiting positions at Harvard University, the Educational Testing Service in Princeton, the University of North Carolina, the University of Stockholm and the Singapore Institute of Education.

Don was well known for his work in educational measurement and research methodology, and he supervised scores of Honours, Masters and Doctoral students over his time at the University of Sydney.  His son Peter described him as “a great believer in the importance of public education and competitive examination as the underpinning for a fair society. He disliked the idea that universities would revert to being elitist institutions where access was based more on wealth than ability”.

Don is sadly missed by the Australian Educational Research Community.

[Adapted from an obituary written by Peter Spearritt, published in the Sydney Morning Herald on March 7, 2014, and available here.]

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