EDTECH 503 – Module 4


Instructional Design Case Study Analysis


1)  Critique the steps Maya took to identify the needs in the case, including the collection and analysis of data.


Most of Maya’s data was anecdotal from conversations with teachers, administrators, and a limited number of students.  It was good that Maya talked to several groups of people that have a vested interest in the success of the Pre-Algebra course.  Maya also compared the state and national standards with its alignment to the text used in the course.  This triangulation helped to point out the “discrepancies between what the national standards called for and what her book was providing.” (Ertmer) Within her collection of data I was surprised that she didn’t look at a common assessment to identify skill deficits that were attributing to student difficulty and frustration with the content.  This seems to be a big missing component in the realigning of curriculum and instruction that would be invaluable to improving student success.

2) What are some options Maya can explore to support the learning environment Ruth Ann requested?

  • Maya can aid Ruth Ann in locating or creating content resources that are more relevant with real life examples to engage these students.
  • Maya can guide Ruth into looking at the common assessment data on the incoming students to find the areas or skill sets that need more attention than others.  This will maximize instructional time and improve students overall understanding of the content by giving them a stronger foundation to understand the mathematics concepts presented in Pre-Algebra.
  • Maya can collaborate with Ruth to develop communication avenues with parents to convey course expectations, instructional models, and resources to aid parents in assisting their students with at home math practice.  This could be done in the form of a newsletter or classroom web site with examples of problem solving strategies.
  • Maya and Ruth can co-teach several classes when new instructional strategies are being introduced or Maya can model these while Ruth observes.  Both of these can be powerful for a teacher looking to change instructional practices.  If this isn’t an option and there is another Pre-Algebra teacher experiencing success, Maya can support Ruth by doing a walk though of that class and observe the instructional model that is experiencing success.


3) What are some critical factors Maya needs to attend to if this effort is to be successful?

In order to ensure success for Ruth and her Pre-Algebra class, Maya needs to use a needs assessment model in order to narrow down the focus a bit.  This will aid Maya and Ruth to determine what the greatest areas of need are.  Measurable objectives can then be designed for the course in order to maximize student learning.  Once this is established, she can then aid Ruth in backwards planning by determining what the pre-requisite skills are for completing various mathematic skill sets.  The pre-requisite analysis can help break down instruction into manageable chucks of skills.  This will ensure that students have the foundation that Ruth wants and students need to be successful.   At this point, then the learning tasks can be designed using the data from the common assessment and the pre-requisite skill analysis.  During this phase, Maya and Ruth should consider student learning styles and utilize the computer stations available in Ruth’s room to create motivating learning experiences.


4) Consider how the work with Ruth Ann could be used as a starting place for school wide mathematics reform.  Does that change the way Maya should work with Ruth Ann and the other math teachers?

As a trained PLC leader I have found that anytime a dilemma is found in education there is the potential for systematic change to occur.  Within any position that is district-wide or school wide consultation it is important that there is transparency so that everyone knows what is going on.  In this circumstance, I feel that it would be important for Maya and Ruth Ann to track the growth of the students’ overtime.  Though careful planning, collaboration, pre and post assessment data this work could be used as the catalyst for systematic change.  This can be done using common assessments in the Pre-Algebra classes or by using the state assessment as baseline data.  The work that Maya and Ruth Ann are doing should be shared within the math department for two reasons.  The first so that Ruth can benefit from the experiences of her colleagues.  They may bring a unique interesting perspective to the work that Ruth and Maya are doing.  In addition, any success that Ruth and Maya have in their work should be shared.  Success begets success.  If we teach in isolation then as professionals we can’t learn form each others mistakes and successes.  By posing careful questions when successes are shared colleagues at department meetings can have valuable dialogue about student work, grading practices, instructional methods, and systematic change in a non-threatening manner that is meaningful evoking greater student success in the long term.


5)     How might the community influence the success of this effort?

Given the influx of more professionals into the community it appears there may be greater expectations upon students to perform well on state testing.  Those parents working second shift jobs will have difficulty in supporting their children on challenging homework or even monitor that homework is being completed.  Given this scenario, Ruth and Maya need to consider what the school can provide after hours to support these learners.  In addition, there may also be parents that do not have the skill set to aid their children when working with math concepts.  This is where Maya can help Ruth design parental support material in the form of a handout or web site with resources so they can aid their children.


Ertmer, P. A., & Quinn, J. (2007). The ID CaseBook: Case studies in instructional design (3rd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.

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