Vous êtes sur la page 1sur 8

1

Case Study

Case Study
Concordia University

In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for


EDUC 514
Jessica Stec

Case Study

Student Profile:
For confidentiality and privacy purposes, the student identified in this case study
will be referred to as James.
James is the younger of two children, he has an older sister two years above him
in school. James parents are married, dad works at an auto-body shop in town, while
mom does side jobs and has helped with coaching in the schools; she does not have a
full-time job outside the home. His sister does very well in school and is at the top of her
class while also excelling in sports. Both parents support their students in all that they
do, but are highly competitive with their children in the sports they are involved in. Both
James and his sister do very well in track and field competitions and have both competed
nationally in field events; James did very well. His mom was very active in sports in
school and strongly encourages her children, to the point of training them outside of
school hours or practices. James seems to be very concerned with expectations set before
him.
This is my second year to have James in school, last year I taught him in both
Language Arts and mathematics; this year in 8th grade, I only had him for 8th grade math
and study hall. James is very quiet in class, seems to keep to himself often, does not joke
around or visit with the other students during down time. I am typically able to connect
with students pretty easily, but James keeps to himself, and makes it hard to visit with
him or reach him on a personal level. Last year, he started out the school year doing well
in math, but even when he struggled or was confused, he did not come to me, and I had to
seek him out and visit with him and correct him on what he was doing wrong, and help
guide him in the right direction. During these times, James responded very little and

Case Study

would just say ok, without me knowing if he was truly acknowledging what I was saying,
or just avoiding any further conversation. As the year progressed, he began to struggle
more, and I noticed on homework and tests that he would struggle with certain concepts,
especially word problems in math. I specifically tell my students I did not want them to
become robots in math, learning a process and then doing constantly without thinking
about what they were doing and why. James really seemed to struggle with this, as that
was precisely what he wanted to do. He wanted the process, and then would use it on
every problem, whether it was right or wrong. In Language Arts class, he did not get
involved often with class discussion, even though he did seem to read the assigned
readings based on his classroom work performance. He finished 7th grade with average
grades, but that was to be expected from myself.
Fast - forward to 8th grade, James struggled early on, and I met with him to ask
what he needed help with, and how I could help him better understand. He said he just
got confused sometimes, and worked too quickly, agreed that he needed to slow down
and think through things. As James continued to work in class, his mood seemed darker,
he rarely smiled and I overheard things being said by his classmates. Students were
saying he felt bullied, that he wanted to commit suicide, that he had no friends and no one
liked him. As I was trying to help him better understand what was going on in class, I
was discussing his struggles and behaviors with another teacher who is also our athletic
director. She mentioned his basketball coach was also worried about him, and that he felt
that he may be depressed. I then decided to speak with the counselor about all I have
previously mentioned, he made a note and pulled James in the very next day.

Case Study

James mother contacted me after a classroom test and was frustrated. James
seemed to do ok on homework, but when it came test time, he often struggled through,
which led to his grade suffering. James, his parents, and myself had a conference early
second semester, to try and get to the bottom of what was going on. He seemed very
frustrated, nervous, and uncomfortable. His mom started asking him what was wrong,
and what was going on in class that was causing him to struggle. I had been collecting
homework papers, and discussed with her this was work he had done on his own, and
from formative assessments in class, he was doing fine. He said he understood for the
most part, but would get extremely nervous during tests. Time passed, and during study
hall I visited with him, and I started noticing that his main struggle was with word
problems. His mom also came back with a test he had taken, and pointed to the word
problems, saying he had no clue what they were saying, or what steps he needed to take
to solve them. She mentioned that he had struggled in math since 4th grade, but she was
very concerned and didnt want this to cause many problems for him in high school. He
again sat with us, and his demeanor was very concerning. He sat with his head hung
down, shoulder crouched, and was crying the whole time. His mom began to attack me
saying I was doing nothing for her child. I knew the situation would not improve, so I
told her I would continue to work with him during study hall, specifically on word
problems.
Question:
After having had James in class for two years, I was concerned, even after the
first year. I began to wonder if there was more to what was going on with him. The more
I talked to mom, I could see she was extremely frustrated because he was not excelling in

Case Study

school as his sister did, and she often compared the two. Another disturbing bit of
information, is that mom and dad both spend most evenings at the bar downtown. They
leave the children at home, and then go out for the night. I do not judge, but if she is so
concerned, why isnt she at home helping him? When choosing to do this case study on
him, I mulled over what my question would be. The questions I have are, Is James
struggling because of issues at home? Does James have other underlying issues that
havent been recognized? Is his classroom performance based on the pressure put on him
to be like his older sister? I decided to research this issue and found some interesting
information. A short blog written by Cindy Hill (Mar., 2014) found on livestrong.com
states that according to the University of Minnesota Extension, A parent-child
relationship characterized by nurturing, acceptance, and encouragement, as well as
parents responsiveness to the childs needs, correlates with positive academic
performance. Another thing that sticks out to me is James seems to have very low selfesteem, though Im confused as to if its related to is school struggles, or something else.
Bridget Webber (Oct., 2010) states in her blog found at educationspace360.com,
Psychologists have discovered students who have low, self perceived expectations dont
achieve educational success as much as those who expect to do well at school. Students
who receive little or no encouragement from family and teachers, and suffer from a
negative view of their intelligence are likely to under-achieve. Mom was often more
concerned with the grade, than whether learning was actually taking place. In an article
by McNair, Renae, Johnson, and Durell it is stated, Parents serve as academic role
models for their children by interacting with them academically. Parents who value
education may influence their adolescents view of achievement by assisting their

Case Study

adolescent when learning. The bar was set for him, but the home environment was not
encouraging or assisting in his struggle.
Discussion of Assessment Tools:
Throughout my two years with this student, I had many different varieties of
assessing him. First, James was a great student in class, paid attention, participated doing
practice problems in class and discussion of the lesson. However, he rarely offered
answers or participated without being coaxed along. In class practice work I walk around
and watch students work and point out mistakes. Also, daily work I would find his
mistakes and write little notes to him and point out how to improve. His test scores were
what he struggled with the most, and his lack of vocabulary knowledge led me to begin
working on vocabulary and the relation of that to what we are doing. He also explained
that word problems he was lost. I would work with him individually to see what he was
able to do. He would read a story problem, but have no clue what it was about. I then
gave him a simple step plan to use on every story problem. We worked on this together
so he could solidify the process, and to build his confidence. As I continued working
with him, my goal was to build confidence with him. He had a bad self - image, and we
needed to tackle that, so we could resolve the other issues. I then weaned him off to
working on his own using this process. He began experiencing success and doing better.
This in turn led to better scores, and deeper understanding of what we were doing. James
progressed. Though I continued to put forth effort, as did he, mom was still putting
pressure that his scores werent high enough. Determining validity was a natural job for
me as a teacher. I am constantly assessing the students in class in groups, individually,
and at chapter end. James improved as his esteem was building, though when his mother

Case Study

was around he clammed back up. I determined James needed to be comfortable with
himself, and work towards his best.
Reflection:
In looking back, I feel I really made some gains, though I worry for him over the
next few years. I believe that his mother put undo pressure on him without trying to be of
any assistance. As previously stated, my goal was to build self-esteem and work from
there. He will always need to work harder, it doesnt come naturally for him, but if he
believes in himself he will be fine. James best may not be what mom wants, but he is
improving and I think that he realizes he may not make her happy. The stress put on him
caused a problem for him because he was fearful of what he was doing before even
starting. I still do not know if he does have somewhat a seasonal depression, though
something I will inform of his teacher next year. Other school officials do know, and we
continue to assist and help him to maximize his learning.

Case Study
References
Hill, C. (2014, March 10). What Are the Effects of the Home Environment on
Learning?..Retrieved June 2, 2014, from
http://www.livestrong.com/article/151892-what-are-the-effects-of-the-homeenvironment-on-learning/

Webber, B. (2010, October 22). Factors That Affect Student Achievement. . Retrieved
June 2, 2014, from http://www.educationspace360.com/index.php/factors-thataffect-student-achievement-6691/

McNair, Renae, Johnson, H. Durell. (2009). Perceived school and home characteristics as
predictors of school importance and academic performance in a diverse
adolescent sample. North American Journal of Psychology, 11, 63-84.