Brent Duckor: Got formative assessment? Exploring the history, logic, and assumptions of the field from an evidence-centered design perspective

September 21, 2021

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

2:00 – 4:00 PM (PDT) in BWW 1217 and Zoom


Research has shown that formative assessment and evaluation can improve student learning more than most practices. Empirical evidence spanning over two decades indicates that thoughtfully implemented formative assessment practices improve students’ learning (Black and Wiliam, 1998; Hattie, 2012). Yet little work has been done on unpacking the history, logic, and assumptions of advocates for the practice. Tracing three major turning points in the literature, we can see that the history of the field is largely dominated by key figures who have sought to articulate what makes formative assessment formative. Using the NRC’s (2001) assessment triangle as a boundary object and heuristic device, we will examine the logic of theory and practice in the formative assessment and evaluation literature, in part, to better grasp its grounding in evidence-centered design.


Brent Duckor is Professor at the Lurie College of Education at San José State University. He 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. Dr. Duckor's research on teachers' understanding and use of formative assessment in the K–12 classroom seeks to integrate a developmental perspective on teachers' and students’ growth aimed at deeper learning in school reform.