Background: There has been an increasing emphasis on empowering pre-service and in-service science teachers to attend student reasoning and use formative assessments to guide student learning in recent years. Purpose: The purpose of this study was to explore pre-service science teachers' pedagogical capacity for formative assessment. Sample: This study took place in Turkey. The participants include 53 pre-service science teachers in their final year of schooling. All but two of the participants are female. Design and methods: We used a mixed-methods methodology in pursing this inquiry. Participants analyzed 28 responses to seven two-tiered questions given by four students of different ability levels. We explored their ability to identify the strengths and weaknesses in students' answers. We paid particular attention to the things that the pre-service science teachers noticed in students' explanations, the types of inferences they made about students' conceptual understanding, and the affordances of pedagogical decisions they made. Results: The results show that the majority of participants made an evaluative judgment (i.e. the answer is correct or incorrect) in their analyses of students' answers. Similarly, the majority of the participants recognized the type of mistake that the students made. However, they failed to successfully elaborate on fallacies, limitations, or strengths in student reasoning. We also asked the participants to make pedagogical decisions related to what needs to be done next in order to help the students to achieve academic objectives. Results show that 8% of the recommended instructional strategies were of no affordance, 64% of low-affordance, and 28% were of high affordance in terms of helping students achieve the academic objectives. Conclusion: If our goal is to improve pre-service science teachers' noticing skills, and the affordance of feedback that they provide, engaging them in activities that asks them to attend to students' ideas and reasoning may be useful.