Professor John Hattie gave a keynote presentation on “Collaborative Impact” in front of school leaders and principals at Cognition Education’s “Collaborative Impact: Research & Practice Conference 2017”. Watch the video to get some important updates on the Visible Learning story. Read on for some quick take-aways.
The Evidence Base
John Hattie constantly updates his Visible Learning research which is now based on the data of 300 million students. He has synthesized over 1400 meta-analyses and put together a list of 252 influences related to learning and achievement. The story underlying the data of Visible Learning remains unchanged although these numbers are up from 800 meta studies synthesized in the Visible Learning meta-study (2009).
In his presentation Hattie also gave a new explanation of the hinge-point d=0.4; the average effect size of all influences. Comparing the data of different education systems (Australia, UK, USA) he wanted to know how much growth students make over a year of schooling. Hattie found that in each of these countries it is exactly 0.40 in terms of effect size – “to the decimal point”. Yet another evidence based argument why students deserve at least one year of growth for one year of schooling.
New No. 1: Teachers’ collective efficacy
At the top of the list of influences there are some new entries since the first Visible Learning study was published in 2009. In his presentation Hattie cites the new number one as “collective teacher efficacy”. (NB: The top two entries are inverted in a paper published in 2015). The most important aspect of “collective efficacy” is making teachers believe: “I cause learning.”Collective efficacy is not about making teachers feel good about themselves, it is more complicated than just believing you can make a difference collectively. Hattie’s definition of “collective efficacy” is “collaborative conversation based on evidence”. There are a couple of books about the subject but Hattie suggests that only some of them get the notion right, e.g. Jenni Donohoo’s “Collective Efficacy: How Educators’ Beliefs Impact Student Learning“.
New No. 2: Teacher expectations
Teacher expectations can have a huge impact on learning outcomes. How do teachers make learning challenging according to the Goldilocks principle: Not too hard, not too boring? Hattie cites Christine Rubie-Davies book and research: It is about “challenge” not about “doing your best”. For further insights you should read her book “Becoming a high expectations teacher“.
Know thy Impact and Hattie’s Mindframes
When asked by teachers and school leaders “What does impact mean?” Hattie never answers the question. According to him, more important than a definition of “impact” is what teachers and students inside the school think that “impact” and “learning” looks like? Hattie got into trouble last year when TES published an interview with the title “Hattie is against teachers being researchers“. According to him they missed the second half of the sentence: “I don’t want to be educators to be researchers, I want them to be evaluators.” Instead of asking why-questions teachers should ask so-what-questions: What is the impact?
Round-up: Collaboration and collective impact
To sum it all up Hattie provides some guidelines of how to reframe the conversation about teaching and learning in order to achieve collective impact.
“We need to move away…
- from teaching to learning
- from best practice to high impact
- from looking at teachers teaching
- to sharing observations of impact
- and collectively evaluating this impact
- from prioritizing achievement to prioritizing progress.”
- Video: Cognition Ignition 2017: https://youtu.be/s0rn1yJ64qg
- Presentation slides: Screenshots taken from the video (c) Cognition Education 2017: www.cognitioneducation.com