Factors Impacting Learning

Based on Dr. John Hattie’s “Visible Learning” and Dr. Vivian Robinson’s “Meta-Analysis of Instructional Leadership”

Effective instructional leaders often examine actions within a school through the lens of evidence=impact, what do teachers/students do and what is the impact on student learning. John Hattie, Viviane Robinson and a group of educational researchers analyzed data of over 800 meta-analyses from thousands of studies on every aspect of school and instruction. From this research, they were able to quantify the effect size on learning from each action/evidence on the impact on student learning. They called this Visible Learning, what action was observed and the effect size or impact it had on student learning. The research produced data on over 250 aspects/actions' impact on student learning in terms of effect size. The researchers concluded that if educators knew which factors produced the greatest positive gains in student achievement, they could do more of the effective practices and fewer of the negative or ineffective practices. It's important to note that these aren't meant to be done in isolation.

What Matters Most in Raising Student Achievement

Every factor in a school or school-related factors has an impact on learning, Implementation and practice of more of the most effective practices tend to produce greater gains in student achievement. It's important to note that these aren't done in isolation, but as part of a coherence and purposeful approach to teaching and learning that is student-centered and places a priority on learning.

John Hattie says “the major argument underlying powerful impacts in our schools relates to how we think! It is a set of mind frames that underpin our every action and decision in a school; it is a belief that we are evaluators, change agents, adaptive learning experts, seekers of feedback about our impact, engaged in dialogue and challenge, and developers of trust with all, and that we see opportunity in error, and are keen to spread the message about the power, fun, and impact that we have on learning.” (Visible Learning Teachers, p.159) Teachers and school leaders who develop these ways of thinking are more likely to have major impacts on student learning. Hattie's Visible Learning means an enhanced role for teachers as they become evaluators of their own teaching. Visible Teaching and Learning occurs when teachers see learning through the eyes of students and help them become their own teachers. As learning becomes student-centered and student-focused with a priority on "learning" instead of "teaching", teachers and students will see greater gains in student achievement.

Least Effective Methods

Suspension, retention (non-promotion), corporal punishment, students feeling disliked, summer vacation (especially with students from poverty), moving between schools, non-standard dialect use, etc.

Most Effective Methods

1. Collective teacher efficacy

2. Student self-reported grades

3. Teacher estimates of achievement

4. Response to intervention/instruction

Using the most effective practices with the highest positive impact on student learning as part of as part of systemic instructional coherence is an effective practice of instructional leaders. The Principal's Playbook adopted Common Instructional Framework and High Impact Instructional Strategies are aligned with the most positively impactful effect sizes for each action within a school framework and aligned for systemic instructional coherence.

Collective Teacher Efficacy - The Most Powerful Influence on Student Learning

Team members' confidence in each other's abilities and their belief in the impact of the team's work are key elements that set successful school teams apart. Success lies in the critical nature of collaboration and the strength of believing that together, administrators, faculty, and students can accomplish great things. This is the power of collective efficacy

252 Influences And Effect Sizes Related To Student Achievement

John Hattie developed a way of synthesizing various influences in different meta-analyses according to their effect size (Cohen’s d). In his ground-breaking study “Visible Learning” he ranked 138 influences that are related to learning outcomes from very positive effects to very negative effects. Hattie found that the average effect size of all the interventions he studied was 0.40. Therefore he decided to judge the success of influences relative to this ‘hinge point’, in order to find an answer to the question “What works best in education?” Originally, Hattie studied six areas that contribute to learning: the student, the home, the school, the curricula, the teacher, and teaching and learning approaches. (The updated list also includes the classroom.) But Hattie did not only provide a list of the relative effects of different influences on student achievement. He also tells the story underlying the data. He found that the key to making a difference was making teaching and learning visible. He further explained this story in his book “Visible learning for teachers“. John Hattie updated his list of 138 effects to 150 effects in Visible Learning for Teachers (2011), and more recently to a list of 195 effects in The Applicability of Visible Learning to Higher Education (2015). His research is now based on nearly 1200 meta-analyses – up from the 800 when Visible Learning came out in 2009. According to Hattie the story underlying the data has hardly changed over time even though some effect sizes were updated and we have some new entries at the top, at the middle, and at the end of the list.

8 Mindframes for Teachers

The lens of teaching and learning has shifted from a focus on teaching and what the teacher does to a student-centered focus. Instructional leaders coach teachers through the lens of evidence (teacher action/student action) and impact on student achievement. This shift in mindframes for teachers is a realization that the teacher and teachers actions are the variable in the classroom that can be adjusted to produce great gains in student achievement. The student isn't the variable in this equation, the teachers' and schools' actions are the variable that impacts student learning. This is a powerful shift to a student-centered instructional focus.

Distractions/ Excuses for Underperforming Learning

Distraction 1: Appease to parents – “If only there were more choice of schools and smaller class sizes”

Distraction 2: Fix the infrastructure – “If only we had more effective curricula, more rigorous standards, more tests and more alternative-shaped buildings”

Distraction 3: Fix the student – “If only we had better, well-prepared students”

Distraction 4: Fix the schools – “If only schools had more money and autonomy, they would be better schools”

Distraction 5: Fix the teachers – “If only teachers had better initial training, were paid for performance and adopted new technology”

"Assigning blame never fixed a problem", but people are quick to play the blame game when students underform academically. Instructional leaders and great teachers realize they are the variable that impacts student learning. The shift for increased student achievement is grounded in the belief that the school sees itself as an effect agent of change and the perception of the teachers believe that the faculty as a whole can execute courses of action required to positively affect student achievement.

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