About the Enhanced Learning Maps Project

Reimagining Instruction, Redefining Assessment

In education, one size does not fit all. Not all learners learn the same material in the same way, at the same pace, or even in the same order, and different learners bring with them different educational backgrounds. Students, then, are best served by instruction that is tailored to their own unique needs.

The Enhanced Learning Maps project facilitates personalized instruction.

Teachers are best positioned to personalize their instruction when they can observe students actively engaged in demonstrating their learning progress. But in order to adjust their instruction appropriately, teachers must first analyze each student’s level of understanding to determine what particular misconceptions or knowledge gaps he or she may have.

This is a difficult task that some teachers are unprepared for. Teachers may benefit from supportive tools to help them connect particular observations of student thinking with the knowledge or misconceptions those observations may indicate.

The Enhanced Learning Maps project was designed to provide precisely these tools.

Enhanced Learning Maps resources help teachers tailor their instruction to meet individual students’ needs so that all students may reach the highest levels of success. More specifically, these resources provide teachers:

1.  A guiding framework: Our perspective on formative assessment partnered with the rich information displayed in our learning map models can guide teachers’ instructional practices and general approach to learning and assessment.

2.  Specially designed tools: Our innovative learning map model illuminates alternate pathways different students may take to learn material. The model also makes clear the prerequisite knowledge necessary for full understanding of a given topic, which helps teachers more easily identify how they might revise their instruction to help students bridge knowledge gaps and achieve learning goals.

Enhanced Learning Maps resources reflect a body of academic research about effective pedagogy.

Learning map models belong to a broader category of organized learning models, which are tools for depicting how understanding of a particular body of knowledge develops over time and experience.1 Concept maps,2 learning hierarchies,3 construct maps,4 and learning progressions5 are all models that define what students must learn, and each can be used to map out optimal learning sequences.6 Additionally, learning trajectories have been used by mathematics teachers to plan instruction that is sensitive to student development.

The learning map model used by the Enhanced Learning Maps project was adapted for use in general student populations from a model first created by the Dynamic Learning Maps® Alternate Assessment Consortium to meet the specific needs of students with significant cognitive disabilities.

DLM® researchers considered the results of a breadth of empirical studies that investigated how students learn particular concepts and skills, organized those results into networks of interconnected learning progressions, and illustrated those progressions as a map.

These initial maps were then refined to model recommendations about what students should learn and be able to do from professional bodies such as the Principles and Standards for School Mathematics7 and the Common Core State Standards.8 The result is a collection of maps, each focused on a particular standard, that teachers can consult as they consider student learning.

The Enhanced Learning Maps project is coordinated by the Center for Assessment and Accountability Research and Design at the University of Kansas. The project is funded by a four-year, $5.8M grant awarded by the United States Department of Education; these funds are administered by the Kansas State Department of Education.

In partnership with the Center for Assessment and Accountability Research and Design at the University of Kansas.In partnership with the Kansas State Department of Education.In partnership with the United States Department of Education.

The following researchers and contributors have been integral in the development of the learning map model of student learning and in coordinating the Enhanced Learning Maps project.

Lauren Adams
Lauren edited the map’s English language arts content.

Angela Broaddus, Assistant Professor of Mathematics and Mathematics Education, Benedictine College
Angela’s early work on the project laid the foundation for the mathematics portion of the learning map model.

Bryan Candea-Kromm
Bryan edited the map’s mathematics content as a graduate research assistant.

Amy Clark, Ph.D., Research Associate, Center for Educational Testing and Evaluation
Amy edited the map’s English language arts content as a graduate research assistant.

Janet Coco, Teacher, Atchison High School, Atchison, KS
Janet collaborated with teachers and researchers to create learning map sections for the secondary mathematics topics taught to general education students.

Zach Conrad, Assessment Consultant, Kansas State Department of Education
Zach edited the map’s mathematics content as a graduate research assistant.

Natasha Cox, Teacher, Mill Valley High School, Shawnee, KS
Natasha collaborated with teachers and researchers to create learning map sections for the secondary mathematics topics taught to general education students.

Gina Debarthe, Doctoral Candidate, Speech-Language-Hearing, University of Kansas
Gina edited the map’s English language arts content as a graduate research assistant.

Karen Erickson, Ph.D., Professor, Center for Literacy and Disability Studies
Karen shared the expertise she gained from developing the Dynamic Learning Maps® project’s English language arts content.

Ayse Esen, Doctoral Candidate, Educational Psychology, University of Kansas
Ayse edited the map’s mathematics content as a graduate research assistant.

Joseph Fitzpatrick, Doctoral Candidate; Research, Evaluation, Measurement, and Statistics; University of Kansas
Joseph edited the map’s English language arts content as a graduate research assistant.

Mari Flake, Ph.D., Instructor, Emporia State University
Mari edited the map’s mathematics content as a graduate research assistant.

Sarah Grewing
Sarah edited the map’s English language arts content as a graduate research assistant.

Kristen Joannou Lyon, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Special Education, Illinois State University
Kristen edited the map’s mathematics content as a graduate research assistant.

Brooke Kissinger, Teacher, Lawrence High School, Lawrence, KS
Brooke collaborated with teachers and researchers to create learning map sections for the secondary mathematics topics taught to general education students.

Katie Leman
Katie contributed to the creation of formative instructional resources for English language arts based on best practices in ELA education.

Carrie Mark, Ph.D.
Carrie led the Dynamic Learning Maps® project’s English language arts content team.

Sarah Marten, Ph.D.
Sarah contributed to the English language arts portion of the learning map model and helped create instructional resources for ELA teachers.

Suzanne Peterson
Suzanne edited the map’s English language arts content as a graduate research assistant.

Shana Poettker, Teacher, South Middle School, Lawrence, KS
Shana collaborated with teachers and researchers to create learning map sections for the secondary mathematics topics taught to general education students.

Anu Sharma, Ph.D.
Anu lent her expertise to the map’s mathematics content during postdoctoral research.

Sookyung Shin, Doctoral Candidate, Special Education, University of Kansas
Sookyung edited the map’s English language arts content as a graduate research assistant.

Cynthia Siew, Doctoral Candidate, Cognitive Psychology, University of Kansas
Cynthia edited the map’s English language arts content as a graduate research assistant.

Sarah Smith
Sarah edited the map’s mathematics content as a graduate research assistant.

Perneet Sood
Perneet edited the map’s mathematics content as a graduate research assistant.

Kelli Thomas, Ph.D., Associate Dean of Teacher Education & Undergraduate Programs, School of Education, University of Kansas
Kelli led the Dynamic Learning Maps® project’s mathematics content team.

Kaylee Vigil, Doctoral Candidate, Counseling Psychology, University of Kansas
Kaylee edited the map’s mathematics content as a graduate research assistant from 2013 to 2016.

Lindsey Wiegele, Instructor, Mathematics, University of Kansas
Lindsey contributed to the mathematics portion of the learning map model and helped create instructional resources for math teachers.

  1. Gierl, M. J., Wang, C., & Zhou, J. (2008). Using the attribute hierarchy method to make diagnostic inferences about examinees’ cognitive skills in algebra on the SAT. The Journal of Technology, Learning, and Assessment, 6(6), 4-49.
  2. Baroody, A. J., & Bartels, B. H. (2001). Assessing understanding in mathematics with concept mapping. Mathematics in School, 30(3), 24-27.
  3. Gagné, R. (1968). Learning hierarchies. Educational Psychologist, 6, 1-9.
  4. Wilson, M. (2009). Measuring progressions: Assessment structures underlying a learning progression. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 46(6), 716-730.
  1. Popham, W. J. (2011). Transformative assessment in action: An inside look at applying the process. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.
  2. See reference 4.
  3. National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. (2000). Principles and standards for school mathematics. Reston: VA: Author.
  4. Council of Chief State School Officers/National Governors Association. (2010). Common core state standards for mathematics. Washington, D.C.: Council of State School Officers and the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices.