Abstract This study investigates pre-service teachers' capacities to attend to, analyze, and respond to student thinking. Using a performance assessment of teacher competence, we compare two cohorts of science teacher candidates, one that participated in a video-based course designed to develop these skills and one that did not. Course participants demonstrate more sophisticated levels of attention to and analysis of student ideas. Analysis of the relationship among skills reveals that sophisticated analyses and responses to student ideas require high sophistication in attending to student ideas. However, high sophistication in attending to student ideas does not guarantee more sophisticated analyses or responses.