Area 1: High-Effect Size Instructional Strategies

In this area, you will dig deep on the work of Dr. John Hattie, who has published several books focused on summarizing instructional strategies that work. His meta-analyses are considered definitive by many on what works (and what doesn't) in classrooms today.

Remember to jot down your notes in the organizer.

1. Watch the Video

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?

2. Surface, Deep, and Transfer Learning

"What and when are equally important when it comes to instruction that has an impact on learning.

Approaches that facilitate students' surface-level learning do not work equally well for deep learning, and vice versa.

Matching the right approach with the appropriate phase of learning is the critical lesson to be learned."

- Hattie, Fisher and Frey (Visible Learning for Mathematics, 2017)

Surface learning does not mean superficial learning. Rather, surface learning is a time when students initially are exposed to concepts, skills, and strategies. Surface learning is critical because it provides a foundation on which to build as students are asked to think more deeply.

We define deep learning as a period when students consolidate their understanding and apply and extend some surface learning knowledge to support deeper conceptual understanding . . . We think of this as a 'sweet spot' that will often take up more instructional time, but can be accomplished only when students have the requisite knowledge to go deeper.

Transfer learning [is] the point at which students take their consolidated knowledge and skills and apply what they know to new scenarios and different contexts. It is also a time when students are able to think metacognitively, reflecting on their own learning and understanding.

Source: Hattie, Fisher and Frey (Visible Learning for Mathematics, 2017)

3. Exploring HES Instructional Strategies

Ready to explore some high-effect size (HES) instructional strategies? Here are a few for your consideration. This section is excerpted from the blog entry on Coaching for Results, Part 4.

Gaining a deeper understanding of high-effect size instructional strategies can be difficult. Remember to come back to the two questions by asking yourself, “What will you and your students be doing in the lesson?” This will assist you.

Also, you should keep your use of strategies simple. For example, as teacher you may choose to use Direct Instruction or Explicit Teaching. Use these to answer the first question, “What will the teacher do?” and then map out what you will do. To answer the second question (student), consider whether this is concept/skill focused. Select a strategy from the surface learning category. If it’s deep learning, use one of those strategies.

Expert Discussion Question

How might your team facilitate professional learning and implementation focused on replacing instructional strategies that may not accelerate growth for students?