Problem Analysis

Once a problem has been clearly defined by the problem solving team, the problem must be analyzed with the goal of answering the question, “Why is this problem occurring?” During this step, the relevant information known about the problem is considered, potential hypotheses about the possible causes of the problem are generated, and information is gathered to confirm or disconfirm the hypotheses. The gathering of this information is the assessment process in a problem solving model. When a hypothesis about an underlying cause is confirmed, the intervention is then linked to the proposed reason that the problem is occurring. The process of problem analysis leads us to the most likely reason(s) that the difference between expectation and observation exists and subsequently to an intervention with a high likelihood of success.

The domains assessed for information to analyze the problem are instruction, curriculum, environment, and learner. Some of the questions asked are – “Has the child received instruction in the target skill?”, “Does the curriculum contain the target skill?”, and “Does the environment support the acquisition and display of the skill?”.

The methodologies used to assess these areas are reviewing existing data, interviewing, observing, and testing.

Most often, this is  not a linear process. Frequently, the consideration of known information, possible causes, and necessary unknown information happens quickly, nearly simultaneously. Thus, these steps do not always occur in the same order. Hypothesis generation involves the balancing of known information, possible causes, and gathering of unknown information in an iterative process that continues until a hypothesis with a high likelihood of correctness is derived.

The result is a hypothesis and corresponding prediction statement.

The Problem is occurring because _________________________________.
If ___________________ would occur, the problem would be reduced.

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