W. James “Jim” Popham

W. JAMES “JIM” POPHAM is Emeritus Professor in the Graduate School of Education at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Also a former high school teacher, Popham has dedicated nearly three decades to teacher education. Having taught courses in instructional methods for prospective teachers and graduate courses in evaluation and measurement, he has received several distinguished teaching awards including recognition by UCLA Today as one of the university’s top 20 professors of the 20th century. He also established IOX Assessment Associates in 1968 through which he conducted research and created tests for at least a dozen states.

As the former president of the American Educational Research Association and founding editor of the association’s quarterly journal, Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, Popham also received the Award for Career Contributions to Educational Measurement (2002) from the National Council on Measurement in Education and a Certificate of Recognition (2006) from the National Association of Test Directors. Having written more than 30 books, 200 journal articles, 50 research reports, and 175 papers for presentation, Dr. Popham’s more recent publications include: Unlearned Lessons (2009), Classroom Assessment: What Teachers Need to Know, 6th Edition (2011), and Mastering Assessment (2012).

For more information, visit Jim Popham’s Website. To learn about Jim Popham from his family and friends, visit his Reflections. To view photographs and cartoons from Jim Popham’s personal collection, visit his Photo Gallery.


Visit the video below to watch a short overview of the interview with Jim Popham. Otherwise, see all three of the full interviews with Jim Popham below.

Video Interviews with W. James “Jim” Popham:

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Growing up as an only child in Portland, Oregon, Dr. W. James Popham graduated from college with honors although he admittedly “never really thought about what [he] wanted to do” afterwards. Choosing to become a high school English and social studies teacher, his desire to improve teacher instruction prompted his decision to attend graduate school and, related, his life-long commitment to teacher education. Initially uninterested in courses on assessment, Popham soon realized that “those who control the test control the whole game” in education. This realization shaped his career for the next 30 years. Watch this clip to enjoy Dr. Popham’s great sense of humor and hear the stories his colleagues and students remember most fondly.

Having spent countless hours working with “real world” educators, Dr. W. James Popham insists that teachers, parents, and students must all become more knowledgeable about the potential risks and benefits of tests. Concerned that “the caliber of schooling in this country is less than it should be,” Popham believes that the wrong kinds of tests compel teachers to focus valuable instructional time on test preparation. Having observed the disastrous effects of current education policies, he now cautions educators and policy makers against repeating the same mistakes. In this clip, learn more about Dr. Popham’s latest research and share his hope for future educational reform.

Praised for his “passion for the improvement of education and respect for the work of teachers,” Dr. W. James Popham explains one of his greatest fears for the future of education, namely the inappropriate evaluation of educators. Having developed tests in more than a dozen states, he continues to search for occasions to support teachers and increase student learning. As the recipient of numerous awards and honors including recognition as one of the top 20 educators in the 20th century at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), Popham jokingly notes that in his life he is most proud of his crowning as the Rose Festival Prince while attending elementary school in Portland, Oregon. Watch this to clip to learn about Dr. Popham’s happiest time in his career.

Amrein-Beardsley, A. (2012, April 21). Inside the Academy video interviews with Dr. W. James Popham [Video files]. Retrieved from http://insidetheacademy.asu.edu/w-james-jim-popham