by Julie Schlossinger, Lower School Director
I recently devoured a book the Times called, Teaching’s Holy Grail. Visible Learning: A Synthesis of Over 800 Meta-Analyses Relating to Achievement was written by John Hattie. The book presents research involving millions of students and identifies what exactly influences student learning. I was astonished to learn the results and would like to share some with you.
To begin, it’s important to explain that a barometer was developed by the author to determine whether educational innovations were better for students than what they would achieve if they had received alternative innovations. For the educational innovations studied, the average of each influence was indexed by an arrow through the “zone of desired effects” at d = 0.4 as those are the influences that begin to have the greatest impact on student achievement outcomes. (Figure 1.1)
Figure 1.1 A typical barometer of influence
All influences above d = 0.40 have the greatest impact on student achievement outcomes. Results between d = 0.2 and d = 0.4 are similar to what a teacher can accomplish in one basic year of schooling. Results between d = 0.0 and d = 0.15 is what students could achieve if there was no schooling in one year of their lives. Any effect below d = 0.0 can be considered harmful to achievement, moving towards a decrease in learning.
Here is a sampling of what I found to be the most intriguing results. Results are color coded to represent desired effects in green, no major effect in yellow, and reverse effects in red.
|Influence||Effect Size||Source of Influence|
|Piagetian Teaching Methods||1.28||Teacher|
|Giving Students Feedback||1.13||Teacher|
|Using Formative Assessments||0.90||Teacher|
|Feedback from Students to Teachers||0.73||Student|
|Small Group Learning||0.49||School|
|Reducing Class Size||0.21||School|
Were any of these results surprising to you? Several were to me such as: summer school, homework, and web-based learning. The very effective use of Piaget’s framework, has harkened me back to my undergraduate course work.
Armed with these findings, teachers in the lower school at VMS are currently making changes in their lessons, instruction, and assessments. These findings will play a large part in our faculty meeting discussions, teacher observations, and Professional Learning Community work (see previous blog).
We are excited to see achievement soar and thankful to John Hattie’s ground-breaking work in constructing a model of learning and understanding for schools.