Alumni News

Malbert Smith (M.Ed. '76, Ph.D. '79) to give School of Education Commencement address

Photo of Malbert Smith

Malbert Smith

Malbert Smith (M.Ed. '76, Ph.D. '79), co-founder and president of MetaMetrics, Inc., a Durham-based firm that produces educational measurement tools, will provide the Commencement address during the School of Education’s graduation ceremony on Saturday, May 11.

The ceremony will be held in the Dean E. Smith Center, beginning at 1:30 p.m.

Smith co-founded MetaMetrics in 1984 to provide teachers, parents, school systems and policy makers with tools to better understand results from tests students were taking in school. MetaMetrics created the Lexile Framework for Reading, the Lexile Framework for Writing and the Quantile Framewok for Mathematics – which have been used to measure test results for more than 30 million students in the United States. Major publishers such as Scholastic and Pearson have built their instructional programs around these measurement frameworks.  

Smith is a highly sought-after speaker on educational reform topics. He recently was the keynote speaker for a national conference in Orlando on the Common Core State Standards, and the next day spoke in Atlanta on how more can be done to ensure all high school students graduate ready for college or to go to work.

He is the author of many white papers, case studies and research briefs that have informed policy makers on a wide range of education topics.

Smith graduated from Duke University in 1975 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology, then obtained a master’s degree in educational psychology from the School of Education in 1976 and his Ph.D.  in 1979. 

He has maintained his ties with the School, having served on the School of Education’s Steering Committee for the Carolina First Campaign as well continuing to serve as on the Board of Directors of the School of Education Foundation.

He was presented the School’s Alumni Achievement Award in 2009.

In an interview for the School of Education’s Carolina Slate newsletter, Smith said he gained from the School much of what he needed to know to launch and manage a successful company.

 “I’ve never had an accounting course,” Smith said. “I’ve never had a business course. But the skills and content I learned in educational psychology at the School of Education are the ones you need whether you’re building a classroom, a family or a company.”

“My advice to other people who dream of starting their own companies,” he said, “is to find something you’re passionate about, then figure out a way to make money with it. If you find something you love to do, you’ll be happy no matter what.”

Details about the School of Education’s Commencement are available here.