What really works in schools? What can we do to have the greatest impact on student achievement? What has a greater impact feedback or homework?
John Hattie is an educational researcher whose work answers questions like these. His book Visible Learning looked at over 800 meta-studies. From those studies, which included over 80 million students, Hattie was able to create a list of the most effective teaching practices. Here are his top five:
- Collective teacher efficacy (1.57)
- Self-reported grades (1.33)
- Teacher estimates of achievement (1.29)
- Cognitive task analysis (1.29)
- Response to intervention (1.29)
After analyzing data from the 800 meta-studies, Hattie created a hinge point of 0.40. The average effect size in the meta-studies was 0.40, so that’s how the hinge point was determined. Anything above the hinge point of 0.40 was viewed as having an effect on student outcomes. Collective teacher efficacy had an effect size of 1.57.
So, what is collective teacher efficacy. According to Hattie, it is more than teachers believing they can make a difference. “It is that combined belief that it is us that causes learning. It’s not the students. It’s not the students from particular social backgrounds. It’s not all the barriers out there. Because when you fundamentally believe that you can make the difference, and then you feed it with evidence you are then that (is what makes it) dramatically powerful.”
The teacher has a powerful impact on student performance if they collectively believe they’re making a difference AND feed that belief with evidence of their success. That impact on students is what makes teaching the hardest job in the world and also the most important. Go believe in yourself and make a difference!