PART A – Research evidence on teaching and learning
CHAPTER 1 – What difference do schools make to student achievement?
This chapter provided the foundation and context of this book. More than 50 years ago, students’ intelligence was predicted by their cultural, heredity, environment and socioeconomic status. The only acceptation was the student who came from a low socioeconomic status environment and had a high “IQ” but that was not the norm. To this end, students were provided a various form of “technical” education especially those from working class environments. Girls will be directed to study “home science” subjects such as cooking and sewing while boys undertook “industrial arts” subjects such as woodwork and technical drawing. This stereotyping was predominant in single-sexed schools. In contrast, the government and private secondary “matriculation” schools that would prepare them for university or “white collar” work served more affluent areas. In all, schools considered only to have a 10% influence on students’ achievement according to the “Coleman report”. This format changed slightly in the mid-1960’s through a single model of secondary schooling accompanied by the greater prevalence of coeducation. Students from the low socioeconomic environments were starting to learn subjects similar to those of middle to upper-class. For those students who came from remote areas, the only possibility to study in the latter years was to attend boarding school. In 1967, the HSC commenced and replaced s model of 5 years (3 years “intermediate” study and 2 years “leaving certificate). Many students still left school at the age of 15 as this was the traditional age to enter apprenticeships. Only 20% of students who completed their HSC in 1967 ended up attending University, fees and lack of role models being the main determinant. About a decade later, university fees were abolished which gave opportunities for others, however, that was soon to be changed once again. Through studies and reports, it was found that the differences within schools were actually greater than the overall differences in student achievement between schools. The attention was then turned seeing
In contrast, the government and private secondary “matriculation” schools that would prepare them for university or “white collar” work served more affluent areas. In all, schools considered only to have a 10% influence on students’ achievement according to the “Coleman report”. This format changed slightly in the mid-1960’s through a single model of secondary schooling accompanied by the greater prevalence of coeducation.
Students from the low socioeconomic environments were starting to learn subjects similar to those of middle to upper-class. For those students who came from remote areas, the only possibility to study in the latter years was to attend boarding school. In 1967, the HSC commenced and replaced s model of 5 years (3 years “intermediate” study and 2 years “leaving certificate). Many students still left school at the age of 15 as this was the traditional age to enter apprenticeships. Only 20% of students who completed their HSC in 1967 ended up attending University, fees and lack of role models being the main determinant. About a decade later, university fees were abolished which gave opportunities for others, however, that was soon to be changed once again. Through studies and reports, it was found that the differences within schools were actually greater than the overall differences in student achievement between schools. The attention was then turned seeing
Through studies and reports, it was found that the differences within schools were actually greater than the overall differences in student achievement between schools. The attention was then turned seeing what was happening in individual classrooms and soon studies found that schools were a large influence on student achievement. Evidence had shown that schools and the teacher make a difference to student’s achievement. This is where the application of meta-analysis is important and through this, analysing the effectiveness of the teacher was studied and researched.
What are the main influences on student achievement and how can we explain the variance in students’ achievement? As a result of a meta-analysis of many thousands of studies, John Hattie found six major sources of variance:
– Student’s account for 50% of the variance of achievement.
– Home accounts for 5-10% of the variance.
– Schools account for about 5-10% of the variance
– Principal’s effect is mainly indirect through their influence of school climate and culture.
– Peer effects account for 5-10% of the variance
– Teacher’s account for 30% of the variance.
There is now considerable evidence that the major in-school influence on student achievement is the quality of the classroom teacher. However:
1. It takes time, support and learning for a teacher to become novice to experts. Not all become experts.
2. Teacher expertise varies considerably. (National teaching standards) So what works best in teaching? Robert Marzano summarised his findings:
So what works best in teaching? Robert Marzano summarised his findings:
|School||– Guaranteed and visible curriculum
– Challenging goals and effective feedback
– Parent and community involvement
– Collegiality and professionalism
|Teacher||– Instructional strategies
– Classroom management
– Classroom curriculum design
|Student||– Home atmosphere
– Learned intelligence and background knowledge
John Hattie provided the following based on his research:
(Effect size of less than 0.2 is considered weak, 02. to 0.4 is small, 0.4 to 0.6 s moderate and effect size of 0.6 and above is large)
Hattie’s top influences: (This list is different from the book. This includes updated information which John Hattie published in 2016)
|1||Teacher estimates of achievement||1.62|
|2||Collective teacher efficacy||1.57|
|3||Self Reported Grades / Student expectations||1.33|
|5||Conceptual change programs||1.16|
|6||Response to intervention||1.07|
|9||Cognitive task analysis||0.80|
|11||Comprehensive interventions for learning disabled students||0.77|
For more information see https://visible-learning.org/glossary/
For more information on how you can use self-reported grades in your teaching profession see: https://chrisbettiol.wordpress.com/2017/04/01/hatties-greatest-effect-size-self-reported-grades-student-expectations-how-we-can-apply-it-in-the-classroom/
The following information has been added from http://www.evidencebasedteaching.org.au/hattie-effect-size-2016-update/
The 6 super factors were:
1. Teacher estimates of achievement (d = 1.62). Sadly, this reflects the accuracy of teachers’ knowledge of students in their classes, not “teacher expectations”, so this is not a factor teachers can use to boost student achievement.
2. Collective teacher efficacy (d = 1.57). This is a factor that can be manipulated at a whole school level. It involves helping all teachers on the staff to understand that the way they go about their work has a significant impact on student results – for better or worse. Simultaneously, it involves stopping them from using other factors (e.g. home life, socio-economic status, motivation) as an excuse for poor progress. Yes, these factors hinder learning, but a great teacher will always try to make a difference despite this, and they often succeed.
3. Self-reported grades (d = 1.33). Again, this is a factor that teachers can’t use to boost student achievement. It simply reflects the fact that students are pretty good at knowing what grade they will get on their report card before they read it.
4. Piagetian levels (d = 1.28). This is the third super factor that teachers can do nothing about. It simply means that students who were assessed as being at a higher Piagetian level than other students do better at school. The research does not suggest that trying to boost students’ Piagetian levels has any effect.
5. Conceptual change programs (d = 1.16). This is a promising one. The research refers to the type of textbook used by secondary science students. Some textbooks simply introduce new concepts. Yet, students have already formed their own understanding of the world around them, often including many misconceptions. These misconceptions can hinder deeper levels of learning. Conceptual change textbooks introduce concepts and at the same time discuss relevant and common misconceptions. While the current research is limited to science textbooks in secondary school, it is reasonable to predict that when teachers apply this same idea to introduce any new concept in their classroom, it could have a similar impact.
6. Response to Intervention (d = 1.07). This is a structured program designed to help at-risk students make enough progress and ideally achieve comparable results to their peers. There is plenty of commercial literature and material to help schools use RTI, but basically, it involves screening students to see who is at risk, deciding whether supporting intervention will be given in class or out of class, using research-based teaching strategies within the chosen intervention setting, closely monitoring the progress, and adjusting the strategies being used when enough progress is not being made. While the program is designed for at-risk students, the principles behind it are the same advocated by John Hattie as being applicable for all students. Note – Response to Intervention (RTI) is increasingly being referred to as Multi-Tier System of Supports (MTSS). The two terms mean the same thing.
The list and discussion highlight the importance of classroom teacher and quality teaching.
– The teacher and quality of teaching are major influences. – School-based influences have no real effect.
– Structural and organisational arrangements have a small effect.
– “Active teaching” has a great effect.
– “Facilitatory” teaching has a small effect size.
– Literacy is a foundation for student achievement.
– Socio-economic status and home environment do have a moderate effect however effective teaching will outweigh it.
There is dangers and harm in categorisation. Hattie found that NOT labeling students had a large effect in respect to their learning. It is recommended that we don’t categorise a child as a particular type of person or learner, such as having a “learning style”. This only reinforces the student to be that type of style and therefore rule out many ways of learning. This can also encourage stereotyping. With good teaching, it is possible to teach almost anybody almost anything.
A person IQ has risen 30 points over the past century and that is attributed from quality education, along with health and nutrition and parental literacy. The challenge every leadership team has is to make things happen in the classroom. “A quality teacher in every classroom is the ultimate aim, but how to achieve this is the big question and challenge”. “Make best practice, the common practice”.
Leadership these days need to be leaders of learning and not just managers or administrators. Leaders need to be instructional leaders
So how do people learn?
- Students come to the classroom with preconceptions about how the world works.
- Students must develop competence in an area of enquiry such as having a deep foundation of factual knowledge, understand facts.
- Students need to define learning goals and monitor their learning.
What are the implications for teaching?
- Teachers must draw out with students pre-existing understandings.
- Teachers must teach with firm foundation of factual knowledge.
- Teaching metacognitive skills should be integrated into the curriculum.
Designing classroom environment.
- Schools and classrooms must be learner-centred.
- Attention must be given to what is taught and what mastery looks like.
- Formative assessments – must make students learning visible. See https://chrisbettiol.wordpress.com/2017/03/02/show-them-what-success-looks-like-using-formative-assessment/
Some other impacts of learning we should consider are:
- Students learn new ideas through reference to ideas they already know
- We want students to remember what is important so that it will have meaning.
- Effective feedback is essential to acquiring new knowledge and skills.
- Self-determined motivation leads to better long-term outcomes.
- Students do not have different “learning styles”.
CHAPTER 2 – What works best in teaching? Evidence, myths, ideologies, habits, fads and fashions.
The four fundamentals underpinning student achievement and thus successful schools.
- A central focus on students, both learners, and people
All teachers, schools, etc have a central focus on knowing their students as both learners and people.
A The individual learner –
- Each student’s progress is assessed formatively, and summeratively.
- Teachers are aware of where the student has been, where they are at present and what they need to do to move forward.
- Constructive feedback as part of ongoing assessment.
B The individual person –
- Every student is known as a person and student/teacher relationships is important.
- It is important that students feel that someone knows and cares for them.
- Effective teachers find ways to communicate and connect with students. They know students’ names. They notice changes in a student’s engagement, enthusiasm, work or even health.
It is important for the teacher to spend time with their students and get to know them better. However, teachers should be friendly but not a friend to students. One on one conferences can also have a significant effect on students learning.
The schools that are most successful in terms of overall student achievement maintain that essential balance between learning and well-being/welfare.
- Professional learning
The most effective teacher and schools are never satisfied with what they know. They are always on the lookout for new found strategies, resources and approaches to improve teaching and learning. A good PD is micro-teaching.
Most parties or positions at a school are exercising leadership. It is possible to have good teachers without having a successful school and it is impossible to have a good school without good leadership.
Instructional leadership has a greater effect than transformational leadership.
- Quality teaching
Essential for students learning but this has shown to have a wide variation in teacher quality that can occur in any school. It is a challenge to get quality teaching in every classroom.
Socioeconomic status and the home environment have a moderate to large influence on student achievement and learning. However, there are high SES families that are dysfunctional and wonderful low SES families. SES is about foundations and advantage, opportunity, support and role models. But not about innate ability, social-biological determination, and potential. According to NAPLAN data, some high SES schools are not performing to their expected level.
The real problem arises when people make assumptions about students, schools, and communities based on SES and is not cognisant of this spread. Stereotyping, stigmatising and holding lesser expectations for students in low SES schools can be extremely damaging in terms of student achievement.
“Life isn’t fair, but good teaching and good schools are the best means we have of overcoming disadvantage and opening the doors of opportunity for young people”.
Learning to learn is seen as preferable to learning. Teacher-directed learning is seen as old-fashioned, even harmful, while student activity and choice is championed, regardless of what that activity or choice might entail.
Knowledgeable teachers are needed more than ever to help students and assist students to navigate the mass of material found on the Internet. Teachers also need to be a master and an expert in their field and also know how to teach. The best teachers are also both student-cantered and teacher-directed.
It is admirable and expected that teachers would want their students to learn but in some cases, they may choose weak unproven strategies and resources. A belief of teachers in recent times has been Discovery learning. Discovery learning is an inquiry-based, constructivist learning theory that takes place in problem-solving situations where the learner draws on his or her own past experience and existing knowledge to discover facts and relationships and new truths to be learned. Many teachers these days are choosing to go down the lines of unguided discovery learning, problem-based learning, and enquiry learning. Hattie found that problem-based learning has a low effect size while direct instruction where the teacher is clear about intentions and orchestrates the learning of the students accordingly has a high effect.
Psychologists and neuroscientists agree there is little efficacy in models that represent learning styles. People might learn differently from each other but assessing children’s learning styles and matching them to instructional methods has minimal effect. There is no adequate evidence base to justify incorporating learning-styles assessments into general educational practices. In fact, labeling and limiting students learning experiences can cause harm. Another model, which had limited effect, is multiple intelligence and results from Myers-Briggs tests can be dangerous due to how the results can be used which emphasis on stereotyping and mindsets. Personality tests do not work and are flawed in many ways. See https://www.amazon.com.au/Learn-Teach-Catherine-Scott-ebook/dp/B00N4PLY9E
There are a number of harmful, invalid beliefs about students and schooling:
- The belief that students with high ability are more likely to display mastery-oriented qualities.
- The belief that success in school directly fosters mastery-orientated qualities
- The belief that praise, particularly praising a student’s intelligence, encourages mastery-oriented qualities
- The belief that students’ confidence in their intelligence is the key to mastery-oriented qualities.
We need to avoid giving students the view that their ability is fixed. Telling someone that they are a “natural” at something can be equally as harmful.
The implication for teaching is that we need to concentrate on communicating to students how their current performance on any task or in any subject compares to the standard expected. This must be accompanied by constructive feedback to help them understand what is required to improve their learning and performance.
Research shows that student self-esteem or self-concept can have a moderate or greater effect on student learning. The best way to boost self-esteem is for students to receive the regular constructive, developmental feedback. Unwarranted self-esteem boosting works against building perseverance and resilience in students, qualities necessary to meet challenges in schooling and later life.
The following are strategies and techniques that have been found to be powerful agents for student learning:
- Carefully explain to students an assignment or learning activity, including key terms and directions.
- Provide students with the assessment rubric, including criteria and the marking/assessment scale/ method for each item/criterion
- Students complete the activity (individually or in groups) using the rubric or guide.
- Students assess their work using the rubric
- Teacher assesses each student’s work, providing feedback using the rubric.
- Student and teacher discuss/compare their assessments
The teacher decides the learning intentions and success criteria. Self-reported grades and direct instruction is about the teacher orchestrating the learning, and not merely lecturing.
The importance of spaced practice
Structuring the learning experience so that students have the opportunity to receive instruction, perform a task, receive feedback to improve their performance. Avoid massed practice.
There are four key questions students require answers to, if their learning is to move forward. What can I do?, What can’t I do?, How does my work compare with that of others? How can I do better? The first two is really about ticks and crosses and if it stops here for students it becomes ineffective. The most important is “How I can do better”? Constructive feedback to students is important here.
A structured approach to considering feedback
- What are your present approaches – formal and informal – to student feedback? Conduct an audit.
- Are our assessment methods and criteria clear, valid and reliable? Identify the links between assessment and feedback.
- Do our students understand what is meant by feedback?
- Is the feedback our students receive infrequent, unforced, unhelpful, inconsistent or negative?
- Is your feedback we provide focused, comprehensive, consistent, and improvement orientated, addressing the four key questions?
- How does the feedback our students receive relate to parental feedback through reports, interviews and parent-teacher nights? Is feedback to students and parents consistent?
- How can we provide our students with improved feedback?
- How will we know if it works? What evidence will we need?
We need to concentrate on strategies and approaches that have been found to have the most effective impact on student achievement.
CHAPTER 6 – What do quality teachers do? What does quality teaching look like?(Page 93)
What is quality teaching?
Great teaching is defined as that which leads to improved student progress, however, defining great teaching is not easy. Ultimately for a judgement about whether teaching is effective, to be seen as trustworthy, it must be checked against the progress of the students.
Good quality teaching will likely be a combination of 6 components:
- (Pedagogical) content knowledge (Strong evidence of impact on student outcomes)
The most effective teachers have deep knowledge of the subjects they teach, and when they have a lack of knowledge it impedes on students learning
- Quality of instruction (strong evidence of impact on student outcome)
Includes effective questioning, provide model responses, giving adequate time for practice and scaffolding.
- Classroom/climate (Moderate evidence of impact of student outcomes)
A teacher’s ability to make efficient lesson time, clear rules and strong classroom management and coordinate classroom resources.
- Teacher beliefs (some evidence of impact on student outcome)
What practices and purpose they have or choose
- Professional behaviours
Behaviours exhibited by teachers such as reflecting on and developing professional practice, participation in PD and communicating with parents.
Case study of successful teaching
The HSC still remains to be the prime mechanism for measuring overall senior secondary achievement since 1967 and from these results, students are allocated to courses at the university.
It is a mix of internal school assessments and external examinations and after moderation students receive an ATAR.
Schools are judged based on ATAR rather than HSC rank.
- Observe highly successful teachers
- Observe them teach
- Talk to them and others about their teaching
- Given access to confidential HSC performance data
- Teachers selected by first identifying a number of faculties that had demonstrated significant success in the HSC
- Success was defined as having students in the top 1% of HSC courses
- Used a variety of statistical “filters” to eliminate variables other than the teacher as the cause of success by
- Comparing results achieved by other teachers with the same students at the same school.
- External comparisons within a course
- Selected students
- Socio-economic status
It was performance within a school over time by a teacher, as well as absolute performance in terms of state-wide HSC results, which determined possible inclusion in the study.
Through the data and prerequisites, the teachers that they studies were predicted to be the best teachers in NSW. 25 teachers from 17 schools took part in the study, 68% were women.
- Teachers identified might not be expert teachers and teach the exam. This was not the case
- A teacher might have been talented isolates who are not well integrated into their school or faculties. Findings proved otherwise.
- Due to limited time, the right view of the teacher would not be reached. This was unfounded.
Factors contributing to senior secondary teaching success
Seven broad factors were identified as contributing to HSC teaching success.
- School background
- Subject faculty (department)
- Personal qualities
- Relationships with students
- Professional development
- Teaching – resources, planning
- Teaching strategies
- School background
Positive attitudes are both indicative of a healthy school culture and “contagious”, in that they set up something of a self-fulfilling prophecy or upward cycle. Students and schools can be talked down easier than they can be talked up. Attitudes, expectations and mindsets are powerful influences in schools, for good or bad. This can be influential towards the HSC but not essential conditions for student success.
- Subject faculty
– Ways in which the faculty as group influenced the success of individual teachers and their students included:
- The faculty acting as a team – sharing programs, resources and teaching aids.
- Faculty members setting the climate for all individuals within the faculty – “We are professional, we have high expectations”
- Whole-faculty approaches to programming – with staff sharing responsibility for curriculum development.
- The faculty having achieved a certain profile and identity within the school – positive comments from other faculties
- – Faculty breeding success – setting up students in the early years. (years 7-10) – “work hard and do well”
- Whole-faculty rapport with students – positive rapport with students in the classroom, staff rooms and in school generally. Mutual respect between staff and students. Teachers that are willing to speak to students during their breaks and comfortable in deferring questions to the superior knowledge of a fellow colleague just like a medical professional referring a patient to a specialist colleague.
Other influential in students HSC success:
- Faculties were well organised with easy access to resources
- The faculty has a general sense of enthusiasm and vitality
- Faculty members “loved” their subject and saw it as important to the students
- Faculties were very experienced
- Faculty members were well prepared and up to date
- The faculty aimed to give their subjects a high profile within the school
- Faculties sometimes focused on specific purposes appropriate to the particular need of the students e.g. Indigenous students
Faculty-based factors were confirmed to influence teacher effectiveness and student achievement, more than general schools factors but less than that of the individual teacher.
- Teachers’ personal qualities
Emerged as an important factor in the research project.
- Orientation to subject –
- the individual teacher’s mastery of content knowledge and their belief that was a key factor in their success.
- Strong subject content knowledge
- Love and passion for the subject
- Belief that your subject will prepare students for life
- Orientation to students –
- Approachability in and out of class was the important trait
- Teachers relaxed and themselves around students and be “real people” and not remote, unapproachable authority figures
- Orientation to work –
- Teachers described themselves and were described by others as hard working and committed. Good organisation was a key factor contributing to student confidence and success.
- Relationships with students
Positive teacher-student relationships and effective teaching are mutually reinforcing.
Aspects of positive relationships with students exhibited by teachers included:
- Being themselves –
- students relax in the classroom and not be remote
- Relating to students as people –
- establish appropriate personal and professional “distance” with their students.
- Teachers took interest in things such as sport, music through conversations on the playground. And classroom.
- Friendly without being a friend.
- Mutual respect and discipline –
- Classes were calm and orderly
- Classes had a sense of purpose
- Students respected being “seniors” but still have expectations
- Teacher availability and approachability –
- Teachers were prepared and happy to take questions
- Help students out of class time
- They didn’t fear to ask questions in fear of being ridiculed.
- Teachers’ professional development
These teachers had achieved a certain profile, credibility and reputation within, and in some cases beyond their school. Some lead professional development
- Networking – most of these successful teachers were active professional networkers, which assisted both their professional learning and the learning of others.
- In-school professional development – around half of the teachers saw their PD as being based largely within their faculty.
- Development through experience – Rich experience, professional learning and help from others were seen as necessary for development as an effective teacher.
- One-of-school professional development – PD formal course that provided “subject content” were seen as most valuable by two-thirds of successful teachers. These teachers also sought out courses to enrich their learning.
- Resources and Planning
- Planning – planning what to teach was effective
- Resources – teachers are highly critical and selective users of resources. Textbooks alone was seen as inadequate as they are not challenging or innovative.
- Teaching strategies
These teachers have a passion for learning about their subject – and teaching itself – and an enthusiasm to pass on to students what they know and “love” about it. They also contain deep content knowledge; they know what to teach and how to teach. They also had expert’s understanding of the HSC processes, including the curriculum, what HSC examiners look for and the standards required.
Like experts, they saw more detail in their classrooms than would novice teachers, and were thus able to provide an appropriate intervention or variation in technique almost unthinkingly and instantaneously.
A) Classroom Climate
- Unspoken expectations for students to demonstrate “on task” behaviour
- Often rapid rate of progress in lessons
- In class “face-to-face” seen as precious
- Teacher enthusiasm and energy
- Teacher reinforcement of student; feedback; recognition of student work and achievements
- Regular routine and structure
- Teacher interested in students lives
- B) HSC focus
- regular practice on specific HSC exam components was important, providing tips and strategies.
- Teachers and students working together with the HSC as a goal
- Teachers went beyond the HSC and teaching for understanding.
- HSC marking experience was vital to their success
- Teachers were not exam crammers
C) Building Understanding
– Using student responses as building blocks, drawing out responses.
– Facilitating thinking through applying knowledge and solving problems.
– Games, simulations and stories (scenarios, role plays, songs)
– Building notes through teacher facilitating; recording student discussion, directed note taking and student summaries
– students have ownership of notes through group-work and from research/discussion
E) Writing essays organising information
– Big essays and projects are often seen as worthless and emphasis instead on writing within the time scale or parameters of the HSC exam (e.g. 250 words in 10 minutes)
– closed and open questions are worthwhile to students learning
– open questioning seemed to occur when teachers wanted students to explore, interpret, predict and explain.
Closed questioning for whole class
G) Whole-class discussion, group work and independent student activity
-the climatee of open debate, presentation of different views
– group work, 2-3 students – learning from each other and solving problems. One to one assistance for students, providing individual feedback.
– frequent, varied assessment and frequent, constructive feedback designed to help students to understand what the can and can’t do and what they need in order to do better.
– Techniques such as short tests, quizzes, instant feedback for teacher and students, students book marked while class is working.
I) Other strategies
- Aids to recall (mind-maps, colours, graphs)
Findings from a program to recognise and research quality teaching
- Award winning and expert teachers need to network
- Focused teaching in the classroom
- QTA requirements
In summary, the research found that highly efficient teachers demonstrated:
- A high level of knowledge
- An overriding commitment to, and high aspirations for, their students’ learning.
- A rich expertise of skills, methods and approaches
- A detailed understanding of the context
- A capacity to respond appropriately to students
- A refusal to let anything get in the way of their own learning and their students learning
- A capacity to gain a high level of respect from students
- A great capacity for engagement in professional learning
- A great capacity to contribute to the professional learning of others
- Moral leadership and professionalism