UCLA-CRESST Team

Deborah La Torre Matrundola (Researcher of CRESST at UCLA)

Email: latorre@cse.ucla.edu

Deborah is a researcher at the National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, and Student Testing (CRESST). Early in her career, she taught general education and computer programming at the primary school level and then later taught courses on technology and instructional design in the Educational Technology master’s program at San Diego State University. Deborah has coordinated evaluation studies focusing on both cognitive and non-cognitive outcomes in afterschool settings, STEM learning, formative assessment in math and science classrooms, and the development and implementation of the new common core assessments by PARCC and Smarter Balanced. Currently she is also doing work on the cognitive complexity of assessment items, including the international PISA tests.


Christine Ong (Senior Researcher of CRESST at UCLA)

Email: ong@cse.ucla.edu 


Christine Ong is a senior researcher at the National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, and Student Testing (CRESST). Having worked in the field of evaluation for over 10 years, she currently directs evaluation activities for the Mobilize project, an innovative computer science initiative for high school students funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF).  She is also a key collaborator on the NSF-funded Formative Assessment in Math (FAM) research study which examines K-12 teachers’ use of formative assessment within classroom instruction.  Prior to her work at CRESST, Dr. Ong worked as a research analyst at First 5 LA and participated in the planning and dissemination of several large-scale evaluation studies, including the Los Angeles Universal Preschool Child Outcome Study (UPCOS) and the LA County Healthy Kids Insurance evaluation. She began her career in education as an early childhood teacher and museum educator.


Kevin Schaaf (PhD Student at UCLA)

Email: kevin.schaaf@gmail.com


Kevin Schaaf is a Ph.D. student in the social research methodology division of UCLA's Graduate School of Education and Information Studies. His research has focused on improving classroom instruction, and he is currently at work on his dissertation on how teachers' social capital impacts teaching quality and student learning. He taught elementary school for nine years and holds Master's degrees in Education and in Public Policy, also from UCLA, and a B.A. in English from Brown University.