Kavita L. Seeratan, Senior Disability Policy Researcher, Center for Education and Human Services | SRI International

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Kavita L. Seeratan

Senior Research Scientist, Center for Education and Human Services

Kavita L. Seeratan, Ph.D., is a senior research scientist in SRI International’s Center for Education and Human Services. She has extensive experience in

  • Cognitive development and learning, both typical and atypical
  • Development, implementation, and validation of alternative research and empirically based assessment, instruction, and remedial applications, models, and methodologies rooted in applied cognitive science and developmental psychology, including learning progressions and evidence-centered design
  • Experimental design and quantitative and qualitative methods
  • Human development, with emphasis on technology-based innovations and instigating change in education policy at local, national, and international levels.

Seeratan is principal investigator and project director for a U.S. Department of Education grant to design a classroom assessment system that is inclusive of students with learning disabilities in mathematics. In collaboration with the Berkeley Evaluation and Assessment Research Center at the University of California at Berkeley, the Center for Applied Special Technology, and school districts in the Metropolitan Washington, D.C., and Boston areas, Seeratan’s team is studying how young children with and without learning disabilities think about and learn important concepts in mathematics. The project team will use what is learned from research and empirical testing to develop and validate a formative and summative classroom assessment system for evaluating and supporting elementary and early middle school students in math and improving the quality of math assessment and instruction for all learners.

Seeratan is also an assessment methodologist on three other Department of Education grants. On two of the grants, evidence-centered design principles are being used to design alternate assessments in mathematics and reading for students with the most significant cognitive disabilities. The third aims to validate the Early Childhood Outcome Center’s Child Outcomes Summary Form, which is used across the country in accountability systems for programs serving infants and toddlers with disabilities. Seeratan is also a Certified Scientific Reviewer for the Department of Education’s What Works Clearinghouse for studies conducted with randomized controlled trial, quasi-experimental, and single-subject designs.

Before joining SRI, Seeratan was at the University of California, Berkeley, where she was project co-director for three large-scale longitudinal interdisciplinary grants related to assessment and learning. She was a lead contributor to the development of the California Preschool Learning Foundations in mathematics and language and literacy, an effort mandated by the California Department of Education to develop research-based competencies that young children can achieve when provided with the kinds of instruction, interactions, and environments that research has shown promote early learning and development. Seeratan also served as project co-director for two large-scale grants to develop formative and summative assessment systems for learning using a learning progressions framework in a variety of contexts: statistical reasoning and data modeling for middle school students and model-based reasoning in evolution for middle school students.

While at the University of Toronto, Seeratan was instrumental in the design, development, and evaluative implementations of the Meaning Equivalence Instructional and Assessment Methodology, a theoretically and empirically grounded method for instructing and assessing depth of comprehension of acquired concepts by evaluating the learner’s ability to recognize and produce multiple representations. Seeratan was also a research and development consultant for the Principled Assessment Designs for Inquiry (PADI) project at the University of Maryland College Park. PADI is a practical, theory-based approach to developing quality assessments of science inquiry by combining developments in cognitive psychology and research on science inquiry with advances in measurement theory and technology.

Seeratan has more than 15 years of experience in cognitive, developmental, and educational research and 20 years of experience in special education. She has published and made many presentations at professional meetings, both nationally and internationally. She serves on the review board for two leading assessment and measurement journals, is a proposal reviewer for five different SIGs at the American Educational Research Association, and has served as invited discussant and chair for assessment and measurement considerations in special education.

Seeratan has an M.A. degree in adaptive instruction and special education and a Ph.D. in applied cognition and education from the University of Toronto. She completed postdoctoral research at the University of California, Berkeley.

Key projects

  • Learning Progressions: Developing an Embedded Formative and Summative Assessment System to Assess and Improve Learning Outcomes for Elementary and Middle School Students with Learning Disabilities in Mathematics
  • Alternate Assessment Design–English Language Arts
  • Alternate Assessment Design–Mathematics
  • ENHANCE: Promoting Quality Child Outcomes Data
Kavita L. Seeratan