The Dick and Carey Systems Approach Model (1978) focuses on the interrelationship between elements in the design process. According to Dick and Carey, “Components such as the instructor, learners, materials, instructional activities, delivery system, and learning and performance environments interact with each other and work together to bring about the desired student learning outcomes.”

Instructional Goals

The model stresses identifying Instructional Goals that may include skills, knowledge, and/or attitudes (SKA) that the learner is expected to adopt, acquire, and demonstrate.

Instructional Analysis

Instructional Analysis is necessary to determine what specific and focussed elements of a larger topic a learner should be familiar with in order to achieve Instructional Goals.

Analyzing Learners and Contexts

Analyzing Learners and Contexts focuses on determining learners’ demographics, prior knowledge/experiences, performance levels in order to forge the connection between the learners and the subject that is being taught.

Performance Objectives

Clear Performance Objectives present the performance criteria that will be used to assess the learners’ levels of achievement.

Assessment Instruments

Developing Assessment Instruments not only entails devising the actual assignments but also clearly articulating their purpose. The model suggests including testing, pretesting, post-testing, practice items/practice problems.

Instructional Strategy

Instructional Strategy determines modes of instruction [hyperlink], student engagement activities, student participation criteria, assessment, etc.

Instructional Materials

Developing and selecting Instructional Materials includes curating the list of learning materials that may include textbooks, journal and newspaper articles, videos, podcasts, and/or creating handouts, videos, etc. The instructional materials should be aligned with performance objectives, assessment schema, and instructional strategy/goals.

Formative Evaluation

Each of the components of the Dick & Carey model should be included in the Formative Evaluation to identify areas of improvement. For example, the instructor can assess whether their course’s learning objectives start with an action verb and adjust accordingly. Best practices include consulting a colleague, peer, or advisor.

Revision

Each formative evaluation instance should be followed by a Revision. For example, if the instructor determined that the individual assignments are too large in scope, the revision may include scaffolding (breaking them down into more manageable, lower-stakes assessments). Important to note is that revisions based on the results of Formative Analysis are done constantly and continuously at each stage, not after the entire learning program has been developed.

Summative Evaluation

Summative Evaluation is, according to Dick and Carey, usually done after the learning program has been created and delivered in order to assess whether the course reached the Instructional Goals. The authors point out that Summative Assessment is usually done by a third party.

Dick and Carey Model

Dick and Carey Model

Key Takeaways

  • Emphasizes systems thinking – understanding instruction as a system of interrelated components
  • Relies on Constructivism, a theory that postulates that learners combine new information and experiences with existing knowledge
  • Great for developing assessments and projects for individual students and small groups

D&C in Action – Sample Learing Unit Plan

4-WEEK UNIT
Iconographic Analysis of Art
COURSE
Writing About Art
D&C Component:

Instructional Goals

Students will learn to:

  • do academic research
  • locate reputable sources
  • organize sources into bibliographies
  • cite sources using the Chicago Manual of Style
  • analyze art using Iconography
D&C Component:

Instructional Analysis

Students need to:

  • distinguish between primary, secondary, and tertiary sources
  • know how to navigate the METPublications and other research databases
  • recognize the type of the source (books, journals…)
  • understand the phases used for iconographic analysis
  • organize their analysis in unified persuasive paragraphs
  • write a thesis statement that states their position on an issue
D&C Component:

Analyzing Learners and Contexts

Students’ demographic data are taken from CUNYfirst; pre-assessment (low stakes discussion, quiz, or reflection assignments) at the beginning of the unit is needed to estimate students’ prior knowledge.

D&C Component:

Performance Objectives

Multiple attempts, low stakes, self-graded quizzes are created to measure the level of student engagement with the assigned class readings.

Grading rubrics are devised to establish performance criteria and measure learning performance for short paper assignments.

Grading Rubrics (Outlines)

Grading Rubrics (Final Drafts)

D&C Component:

Assessment Instruments

Week one:

  • self-grading, multiple attempts quiz  (participation grade)
  • discussion board (participation grade)

Week two:

  • outline for the short paper  (5% of the final grade)
  • reflection discussion post (extra credit)

Week three:

  • self-grading, multiple attempts quiz  (participation grade)
  • discussion board (participation grade)

Week four:

  • the final draft of the short paper  (15% of the final grade)
  • reflection discussion post (extra credit)
D&C Component:

Instructional Strategy

Mode of instruction: Asynchronous

Learning module length: one week (weekends included)

Unit length: one month (four weeks)

Weekly engagement is assured through the required quiz, discussion board, and assignment upload on Blackboard. The weekly modules are timed and not available to students after the due date. Late submission is allowed, but 3% per day is deducted from the performance grade. Students have a chance to make up for the missed participation points through a series of extra credit quizzes and discussion forums.

D&C Component:

Instructional Materials

The course uses Open Educational Sources. Instructional materials are compiled from various open-source databases. Instructional videos and handouts were created to address specific learning objectives.

See weekly module organization and course resource page

D&C Component:

Formative Evaluation

The course has been developed over the course of 5 academic years. Various adjustments have been made in every component. Revisions were made based on student performance and reflections as well as on the instructor-led needs analysis and peer class observations.

 

D&C Component:

Revision

The search for high-quality, free, and accessible instructional material has been a quest for years.

Devising a fair and motivating late submission policy required multiple iterations. the grade deduction for late submission ranged from 10% to 2%, and after many rounds of evaluation and student feedback, 3% off turned out to be the best solution.

The mode of instruction had to be adjusted due to the COVID emergency. The course went from Face-To-Face into Asynchronous modality.

The latest iterations of the module included reflection assignments to better understand student performance gaps.

D&C Component:

Summative Evaluation

  • Student reflections
  • Course and Teacher surveys (conducted by the Office of Testing and Evaluation)
  • Peer Class Observation
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Eugenio María de Hostos Community College
500 Grand Concourse, Bronx, New York 10451
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