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Employee Spotlight: Jerry Gorham

August 29, 2019

Ascend employees are the heart and soul of our company, and every employee changes lives with their hard work. We hope you enjoy getting to know one of our employees in this profile.

Άπαντάτε Τζέρι

If you’re Jerry Gorham, you know what that sentence says.

While some of us may brush up on our college Spanish before a vacation, Jerry Gorham, Ascend’s Chief Measurement and Testing Officer, digs a little deeper into his language studies. How deep? Classical Greek. HebrewAramaic.Syriac.Coptic. (Plus, a little French and German on the side.)

Lately he’s been reading Homer – in Greek – and some Septuagint, which, in case you didn’t know, is the Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible. And mastering classical languages is just one of the many hobbies he partakes in when not making sure Ascend’s test scores are air-tight, valid and fair.  Here’s more about Gorham!

Q. Education is obviously important to you. Tell us about your degrees.

My undergraduate is from Freed-Hardeman University. I have a Master’s in Greek Studies from Abilene Christian University, a Masters of Divinity in Greek Studies and Counseling from Princeton Theological Seminary and a Ph.D. in Statistics from Rutgers University.

Q. You lead our team of psychometricians at Ascend. How do you describe what you do to your neighbors?

Psychometrics is very easy to explain: We use complex modeling and statistical techniques to guarantee that test scores produced by Ascend are valid. Ultimately, our job is to make certain that a score we report is both fair and defensible in a court of law because that score has been produced using best industry practices. Without such assurances, our company could be subject to class action suits for reporting scores that are neither valid nor defensible. Most everyone on our team has an advanced degree in Psychology or Educational Measurement. 

Q. What’s something you’ve done that most people haven’t done?

In middle age, I worked hard to get my pilot’s license and my tailwheel plane endorsement and now fly a small tailwheel aerobatic plane for fun. I usually fly my plane all around New Mexico and up to the Colorado border. I enjoy flying low and seeing the beautiful landscapes of New Mexico. The world looks a lot different when you’re a few thousand feet above the ground.