Dispelling common myths on how to improve student achievement

Based on statistical examination, prof says there are clear distinctions in what works and what doesn’t for improving student achievement.

myths-student-achievementAccording to Dr. John Hattie, a professor and researcher at Melbourne’s Graduate School of Education, research and detailed statistical examination can determine which teaching methods actually improve student achievement and which are, essentially, a waste of time.

“Visible learning is about understanding the attributes of schooling that truly drive student learning and have a significant impact on student achievement,” explained Hattie. “As the school year comes to a close, summer provides an opportune time for teachers to reflect on their successes and challenges in the classroom. An important aspect of this reflection is figuring out what works and what doesn’t work when it comes to improving student achievement.”

Hattie said he spent more than 15 years conducting nearly 800 meta-analyses of 50,000 education studies focused on student learning. Because almost any education intervention can claim some positive effect on learning, Hattie said he performed a statistical examination of current research and developed a threshold to determine effect. The effect size threshold is d >0.40, reflecting one-year’s average student growth in one year.

According to Hattie, his findings align to current attempts to improve education, but there are several claims—on varying sides of the education debate—that just don’t measure up.

To give teachers a head start on the process of fine-tuning teaching for the next school year, Hattie explained nine common myths about how to improve student achievement.

(Next page: 9 common myths on how to improve student achievement)

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