Professor Farr was a specialist in the teaching and assessment of language. He developed and helped to develop a number of nationally standardized language assessments. His development of performance and portfolio assessments from the elementary school through the post-secondary levels has been recognized nationally and internationally. His research interests include the validity of alternative forms of assessment, the cognitive strategies used by readers as they read, and the teaching of reading and writing.
Professor Farr received a B.S. from the State University of New York in 1960 (education), and M.S. from the State University of New York in 1964 (English education), and an Ed.D. from the State University of New York in 1967 (Language Education and Educational Psychology). He joined the IU faculty in 1967 and was selected as a Chancellor's Professor in 1994. Since 1983 he has directed the Center for Innovation in Assessment.
Professor Farr was President of the International Reading Association in 1979-80. From 1968 to 1980 he was co-editor of the Reading Research Quarterly. In 1970, his research monograph, Reading. What Can Be Measured? was selected by Pi Lambda Theta as one of the twenty outstanding books in education.
Professor Farr was awarded the International Reading Association's William S. Gary award for outstanding lifetime contributions to the teaching of reading in 1984 and in 1986 he was elected to the International Reading Association Reading Hall of Fame. And, in 1988, IRA selected him as the Outstanding Teacher Educator in Reading.