CSCS Team

Continuous Formative Assessment (CFA): A Cloud-based Pedagogy for Evaluating Student Understanding to Optimize STEM Teaching and Learning

Norman Herr, Marten Tippens, Mike Rivas, Virginia Oberholzer Vandergon, Matthew d’Alessio, John Reveles


Engaging Students in Conducting Data Analysis: the Whole-Class Data Advantage

Virginia Oberholzer Vandergon,  John Reveles, Norman Herr, Dorothy Nguyen-Graff, Brian Foley, Mike Rivas, Matthew d’Alessio,

Norman Herr

Norman Herr, Ph.D., is a professor of science education and educational technology at California State University, Northridge (CSUN), where he helps coordinate and direct graduate programs in science education and educational technology as well as a variety of projects pertaining to STEM education. Dr. Herr has authored the California NGSS-based frameworks for teaching physics and chemistry, numerous publications in the fields of educational technology and STEM education, and a popular series of books for science educators: The Sourcebook for Teaching Science – Strategies, Activities, and Instructional Resources, Hands-On Chemistry Activities with Real-Life Applications, and Hands-On Physics Activities with Real-Life Applications.


Matthew d'Alessio

Matthew d'Alessio, Ph.D., teaches science content to future teachers as an Associate Professor in the Department of Geological Sciences at California State University Northridge. As a researcher in geology, Matthew studied the deformation around active earthquake faults with the goal of providing better forecasts of earthquake hazard. He quickly realized that the usefulness of such forecasts depended less on the science and more on the education of the public. He slowly shifted his career from researching science to researching effective science education. He uses his classroom as a laboratory for exploring techniques to promote scientific curiosity and leverage technology to improve teaching practice. He is a CSU Digital Ambassador and former Google Faculty Fellow.

Brian Foley

Brian Foley, Ph.D., is a Professor of Secondary Education at California State University Northridge. His research looks at uses of technology in the classroom to promote learning particularly in science education. Recent work looks developing teaching methods for using  science classrooms through the use of collaborative documents.  Before coming to CSUN, Brian completed his Ph.D. at UC Berkeley and worked at the Caltech Precollege Science Initiative and at UC Irvine.


Mike Rivas

Mike Rivas, Ph.D.,  is a professor of Secondary Education at California State University Northridge (CSUN) where he focuses on pre-service teacher preparation, post-service graduate education, and directs the Summer Academic Enrichment Program, an outreach program for secondary school students.  Prior to earning his Ph.D., Dr. Rivas taught biology, chemistry, physics, and anatomy/physiology at the secondary level for twelve years. His research focuses on best teaching practices and the building of classroom communities to promote learning, equity and access.  Mike has served as Chair of the Secondary Education Department, Coordinator of the Masters program in Science Education, and as a Co-Director of Faculty Development on the CSUN campus.


Virginia Vandergon

Virginia Vandergon, Ph.D., is a professor of biology at California State University Northridge (CSUN). She has a dual role in the Department of Biology as a geneticist and as a liaison in science education. She has published papers pertaining to metabolic pathway evolution in plant genes as well as publications that highlight the use of technology in science education, and is author of the NGSS-based California framework for teaching high school biology. Dr. Vandergon collaborates with science educators from across the university  to provide professional development for local science teachers, provides training for pre-service science teachers, and coordinates afterschool science programs for local middle school students. She is currently the PI for both the San Fernando Valley Science Project and the NSF funded  CSUNoyce Phase II grant.


John M. Reveles

John M. Reveles, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor in the Department of Elementary Education at California State University, Northridge (CSUN). He is currently the Principal Investigator (PI) of the New Generation Of Educators (NGE) comprehensive project. The project aims to transform teacher preparation to help new teachers change both what and how they teach through the use of 21st Century technology tools. Prior to becoming a CSUN faculty member, Dr. Reveles received a Ph.D. from UC Santa Barbara where he worked on the Center for Equity in Mathematics and Science Education, (CEMSE) project. His research interests include: a) development of scientific literacy in school settings; b) sociocultural influences on students' academic identity; c) situated cognition; and d) equity of access issues in science education.  


Marty Tippens

Marty Tippens, Ed.D., is a professor of mathematics at Woodbury University where he currently serves as chair of the mathematics department. His most recent research centers on formative assessment and its potential effects on the retention of STEM students.  He presented on this subject with colleagues from CSUN’s Computer Supported Collaborative Science team at the International Meeting of The Association for Science Teacher Education in 2014 and at the Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education in Las Vegas, 2013.





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