Hanover Looking to Become More Visible in Their Learning

A book that I purchased several years ago began to reappear on my desk last year. Visible Learning: A Synthesis of Over 800 Meta-Analyses Relating to Achievement (2009). This book is built on quantitative educational research and although thick with numbers and possibly a little dry, is an important read for educators. The author of these meta-analyses is Professor John Hattie, Director of the Melbourne Educational Research Institute at the University of Melbourne. His research interests include performance indicators, models of measurement and evaluation of teaching and learning (Visible Learning, 2019). Professor Hattie has created an impact barometer. See image below.

A critical number to focus on is (d= 0.4). The level of 0.4 on this barometer represents the “hinge point.” The hinge point is the measurement level where one year’s worth of schooling is equal to one year of student growth. Here is a link to Hattie’s Rating Scale. Any influences that score larger than the hinge point, may have more than a year of growth for a child in one school year of learning. On the contrary, strategies scoring below the hinge point may lead to less than one year of growth in a student’s learning.

It is important to mention that the influences Hattie lists, are fluid and move up and down his ranking as more research is analyzed. For example, in the Hanover School Division, all staff should be aware of the words Collective Efficacy. According to Professor Hattie’s influence rankings last year, Collective Efficacy ranked #1 and this year it is ranked #2 with a measurement of 1.57. Collective efficacy is considerably high, almost 3 times a year’s growth in student’s learning. As a result, we feel that this reflects the importance of our school division to continue a focus on learning partnerships specifically building the efficacy of the collective group(s) in our schools.

This past August our Superintendents team had the opportunity to listen to Professor Hattie speak for half a day. He spoke about Student Self Reported Grades which is currently ranked 3rd on Hattie’s scale, a d= 1.33. Here is a video of Hattie explaining self-reported grades. As Hattie explains, self-reported grades are really student expectations of themselves when it comes to how they feel they will score on a test. This is an interesting report by Hattie, more importantly, he speaks specifically about the purpose of assessment. The purpose is less about the student and more about, in this case, the teacher. The assessment results should inform the teacher in understanding what are the next steps in teaching to continue to move the student’s learning dial. In addition, Hattie speaks about the role of educators in helping students exceed expectations of themselves.

If one was to take Hattie’s expectations for assessment outside the context of the classroom, there are parallels in coaching. For example, when I am coaching my son’s 10-year-old hockey team, I am constantly assessing their progress and adjusting my coaching techniques to move each player’s learning dial. If I feel that a player needs to improve on a skill, I provide them feedback with suggestions for improvement. As Hattie mentions, my job as a coach is to give the players (students) the confidence, skills, and understanding to reach beyond their own targets.

Professor Hattie has also published the book, Visible Learning For Teachers. This is a book that I encourage our teachers to read. This book is a great guide for high impact teaching strategies providing a great research-based standard for educating students. As a school division, we will continue to reference Professor Hattie’s work and we look forward to hearing feedback from our teachers while we are in schools visiting.

As we are in the midst of report card writing, on behalf of our Superintendents team, I want to thank all our teachers in the Hanover School Division. We appreciate the extensive amount of time that you spend on each student’s report card working through numerous amounts of assessments. Thank you!

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