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2020 Morningstar Award Goes to Andrew Ho

Ho was honored for his imaginative approach to teaching, his availability to students, and an uncommon ability to convey challenging topics — with humor, grace, and inventiveness.
Andrew Ho

Professor Andrew Ho at the 2017 launch of Instructional Moves

Photo: Jill Anderson

Professor Andrew Ho was honored with the 2020 Morningstar Family Teaching Award at the HGSE Commencement on Thursday, May 28. The award is presented annually to a faculty member for his or her generosity in providing time and support to students.

Students who nominated Ho commented on his imaginative approach to teaching, his ability to convey challenging topics, and his overall commitment to the practice of education.

“He has a performative streak for pedagogy,” wrote a student. “His demonstrations frequently include objects like Play-Doh and Slinkys. His classroom demeanor is inspiring, and frankly, hugely entertaining.”

Established in 2000 with a gift from Faith Morningstar, Ed.M.’87, Ed.D.’96, and her husband, the Honorable Richard Morningstar, an alumnus of Harvard College, the annual award is intended to recognize HGSE faculty members that helped create supportive environments for their students. The recipient is chosen based on nominations by HGSE students and a review process by a student advisory committee and the dean. The award includes a $7,500 prize and recognition on a plaque hung on campus. Ho was nominated along with 61 other faculty members, with 334 students making nominations.

“Andrew Ho has been a light for HGSE students this past year," said Dean Bridget Long. "His contributions as a teacher, adviser, and mentor are exemplary and demonstrate an unwavering commitment to his students’ growth. Time and again, nominations praised his dedication to improving the classroom experience, often in imaginative and unconventional ways. I am delighted to celebrate Andrew with this well-deserved award.”

Ho, who teaches courses on statistical and psychometrical methods, is a psychometrician focused on improving the use and interpretation of test scores in educational policy and practice. He is known for documenting the misuse of proficiency-based statistics in state and federal policy analysis. Ho also advocates for evaluative metrics to achieve multiple criteria, with the goal of improving accuracy and transparency, specifically to their target audiences.

“I feel an overwhelming sense of gratitude. Every class is a team effort, but my courses [S-052, Statistics, and S-061, Measurement] rely heavily on a large team to lead sections, provide feedback, and support students,” Ho said, acknowledging his 2020 teaching fellows: Shelby Carvalho, James Jack, Thomas Kelley-Kemple, Eddie Kim, Eileen McGivney, Fernanda Ramirez-Espinoza, Mikko Silliman, Eric Torres, and Wendy Wei. “I am also grateful to the students who took the time and care to nominate me. I sent the nomination packet to my family. They have never been prouder of me.”

Students praised Ho for his care and commitment, being “endlessly available,” and his willingness to organize lunch series, additional advising hours, or study sessions. They noted how Ho’s shift in practice during the pandemic to remote learning didn’t diminish their experience. In fact, students were grateful for how Ho tackled the challenging events of the spring semester and made his online class something to look forward to each week. “He has transitioned into this moment of uncertainty with grace and skill,” wrote one student.

“We improve our teaching, with effort, over time,” said Ho. “My courses this year built from decades of content and pedagogy at HGSE, including from my HGSE predecessors, Professors John Willett, Judy Singer, and Dan Koretz. Every year, I try a few new things. Sometimes they work. Other times they do not. I am happy and proud beyond words that this year worked well. I look forward to passing what I've learned, and how I've learned, on to my teaching fellows and students. And I look forward to continuing to improve.”

Current faculty members who have received the Morningstar Award include Lecturers Joseph McIntyre and Gretchen Brion-Meisels; Associate Professor Karen Brennan; Senior Lecturers Joe Blatt and Elizabeth City; Professors Deborah Jewell-Sherman, Catherine Snow, Paul Harris, Monica Higgins, and Jal Mehta; Principal Research Scientist Tina Grotzer; and Dean Bridget Terry Long.