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Mastering Formative Assessment Moves: 7 High-Leverage Practices to Advance Student Learning


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How do you know if students are with you at the beginning, middle, and end of a lesson? Can formative assessment offer a key to better teaching and learning during instruction? What if you could blend different formative assessment moves in your classroom, with intention and care for all students, to help make better instructional decisions on the fly and enjoy more teachable moments?

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About the authors

Brent Duckor, an associate professor in the Department of Teacher Education at San José State University in California, teaches courses and workshops that provide historical, analytical, and empirical lens to help students better understand the role of assessment, testing, and evaluation in education.

He also serves as a researcher, studying teacher learning progressions in formative assessment. His research on teachers' understanding and use of formative assessment in the K–12 classroom and validation of teacher licensure exams in state, national, and international contexts seeks to integrate a developmental perspective on teachers' growth in the profession. The core focus of Duckor's research on teachers utilizes mixed methods to investigate trajectories of high leverage assessment practices and examining how to model progress variables using Item Response Theory (IRT).

Prior to San José State University, Duckor taught government, economics, and history at Central Park East Secondary School in New York City in the 1990s before returning to the University of California, Berkeley, to study education measurement, testing, and assessment with the passage of No Child Left Behind.


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Carrie Holmberg is an educational consultant and a lecturer in the teacher educator department at San Jose State University, one of the largest, most diverse teacher preparation programs in California. With a focus on research-based formative assessment practices, Holmberg delivers services to a broad range of stakeholders and is committed to researching, developing, and celebrating educators' knowledge, and skills. She is an enthusiastic ambassador for teachers, educational leaders, and the people and systems that support them.

A National Board–certified teacher, she taught at a Title I comprehensive high school in Silicon Valley for nearly a decade and has extensive experience mentoring new teachers. During her doctoral studies, she conducted pioneering research on teacher learning progressions in formative assessment with middle school mathematics teachers in multilingual, high-needs contexts.


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