High-Effect Size Instructional Strategies (HESIS)

Evidence-Based Strategies

Evidenced-based practices are those “effective educational strategies supported by evidence and research” (ESEA, 2002).  

When teachers use evidence-based practices with fidelity, they can be confident their teaching is likely to support student learning and achievement (source).

“How do you know if what you’re doing in the classroom is effective?”

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?

“We have no right to teach in a way that leads to students gaining less than d= 0.40 within a year,” says John Hattie (Visible Learning, 2009). 

Much of what we do in schools falls between low to medium effects. These are usually activities that move children along, but stop short of accelerating their growth.  The Barometer of Influence (right) identifies the different types of effects.

Or, as Mike Bell puts it in The Fundamentals of Teaching, the question isn't what works (everything does).

Rather, "What strategies work well?" Finding out how strategies fit into the Magic Formula is what we're about as educators.

Activity: Give It a Go!

The jigsaw technique is a method of organizing classroom activity that makes students dependent on each other to succeed. It breaks classes into groups and chunks assignments into pieces that the group assembles to complete the (jigsaw) puzzle. 

The Jigsaw Method enjoys an effect size of 1.20. This makes it one of the most effective instructional strategies you can use.

What and When

Strategies you use are more effective when they match the your learning intention and students' phase of learning

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

Want to maximize student growth? Select instructional strategies that work best for different phase of learning your students are in.

"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)

Use the Best Strategy at the Right Time

Foundation/Core Strategies

Strategies that you can use anytime, regardless of learning intention or what phase of learning your students are in.

Example: Spaced vs Massed Practice + Retrieval or Practice Testing

Spaced vs Massed Practice has us space out over time the intervals when we study information. This ensures that significant learning occurs. Combined with retrieval practice, you can make long-term memory connections for new information. Flashcards, practice problems, and writing prompts can improve learning. Learn more here. 

Surface Learning

Content focused. This is where students learn ideas/vocabulary/procedural skills, and explore concepts. Introduce students to concepts, skills, and/or strategies.

SOLO Taxonomy: Uni/Multi-Structural
Student has a lack of understanding or knowledge of concept. Or, student has an idea of what it is but not what to do with it or how it connects to other ideas.

Example: Vocabulary Programs

One of the oldest findings in educational research is the strong relationship between vocabulary knowledge and reading comprehension. Word knowledge is crucial to reading comprehension and determines how well students will be able to comprehend the texts they read" (Source: Visible Learning for Literacy).

Frayer Model

Semantic Map

Concept Sorts

Deep Learning

Relationship in and among content. Students consolidate their understanding, applying and extending surface learning after building requisite knowledge.

SOLO Taxonomy: Relational Level
Student can link ideas together to see the big picture.

Example: Reciprocal Teaching

"A deep learning, instructional strategy which aims to foster better reading comprehension and to monitor students who struggle with comprehension. The strategy contains four steps: summarizing, questioning, clarifying, and predicting. 

It is “reciprocal” in that students and the teacher take turns leading a dialogue about the text in question, asking questions following each of the four steps. 

The Reciprocal Teaching Treatment

Want to see dramatic results in your students? Use reciprocal teaching at least three times per week for three months. 

The creators of the Reciprocal Teaching strategy, Ann Palincsar and Ann Brown (1984, 1986) for just 15-20 days, assessment of students’ reading comprehension increase from thirty percent to seventy to eighty percent. 

All four strategies need to be used in each 15 to 30 minute session to obtain best results. Learn more.

Transfer Learning

Transfer of newly learned skills to novel situations or tasks. 

SOLO Taxonomy: Extended, Abstract Level
Student can look at ideas in new and different ways.

Example: Strategy to Integrate with Prior Knowledge

"The argument is that readers who establish more connections between a text and their prior knowledge produce stronger situation models, or cognitive maps of a given state of affairs. This situation model, in turn, is aimed to improve comprehension and recall." Gain these benefits when encouraging students to 1) Acquire, record, organize, synthesize, remember information; 2) Skim, identify relevant information, take notes; 3) Study materials for a test

Ready to see other digital tools and how the align to high-effect size instructional strategies?

Five Steps of Evidence-Based Practice

Carrie Rosebruck's Explicit Reading Strategies

Here's how Carrie Rosebrock represents Surface, Deep, and Transfer learning strategies that are relevant to Reading. 

Be sure to read her blog entry and explanation for another interpretation of Hattie's work.

Mike Bell's The Fundamentals of Teaching