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Erin Furtak


  • Researcher 


Erin Marie Furtak is Associate Professor of Education specializing in Science Education.

Dr. Furtak's research grew out of her own experiences as a public high school teacher, in which she struggled to enact science teaching reforms in her own classroom. Her work focuses on how to support secondary science teachers in improving their everyday formative assessment practices. With the support of a CAREER grant from the National Science Foundation, Dr. Furtak has been investigating how a long-term professional development program centered on a learning progression for natural selection can support high school teachers in iteratively designing, enacting, and revising formative assessments. More information on her current projects can be found here.

Dr. Furtak teaches courses in the CU Teach program (EDUC 4060, Classroom Interactions, and EDUC 5375/5385, Project-Based Instruction), as well as the Teaching and Learning Biology course (MCDB 4811, cross-listed in EDUC) and advanced doctoral courses (e.g. Advances in the Assessment of Student Learning, EDUC 8740).

Dr. Furtak received the 2011 Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) and the German Chancellor Fellowship from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation (2006). She has published 18 peer-reviewed articles and two books. She conducts extensive service to the teaching profession through long-term research and professional development partnerships with school districts and organizations in Colorado and across the US.


PhD Curriculum and Teacher Education, Stanford University, 2006
MA Education, University of Denver, 2001
BA Environmental, Population, and Organismic Biology, University of Colorado Boulder, 1999 


Formative Assessment
Science Teacher Professional Development
Inquiry-Based Learning and Teaching 


Furtak, E. M., & *Heredia, S. (2014). Exploring the Influence of Learning Progressions in Two Teacher Communities. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 51(8), 982-1020.

Furtak, E. M., *Morrison, D. L., & *Kroog, H. (2014). Investigating the Link Between Learning Progressions and Classroom Assessment. Science Education, 98(4), 640-673.

Briggs, D.C., Ruiz-Primo, M.A., Furtak, E.M., Shepard, L., & Yin, Y. (2012). Meta-Analytic Methodology and Inferences about the Efficacy of Formative Assessment. Educational Measurement: Issues and Practice, 31 (4), 13-17.

Furtak, E. M. (2012). Linking a Learning Progression for Natural Selection to Teachers Enactment of Formative Assessment. Journal of Research in Science Teaching. 49(9), 1181-1210.

Furtak, E.M., Seidel, T., *Iverson, H. & Briggs, D.C. (2012). Experimental and Quasi-Experimental Studies of Inquiry-Based Science Teaching: A Meta-Analysis. Review of Educational Research, 82(3), 300-329.