Sunday, January 12, 2014

Effect Size - The work of John Hattie

Effect Size.  The impact on learning.
John Hattie is well known for his research on effect size.  Our district (Hilliard City Schools) has spent considerable time on one of his most read books, ‘Visible Learning‘.  Key messages about leadership in schools, and the questions we should be asking about improving schools are found throughout.  We have spent administrative meeting time dissecting the work and implementing his findings in our schools with our teachers. It's impact has been felt.
As we continue to find creative ways to reach our students and work with our teachers, I was drawn to an article that I came across.
Below are the key points from a speech given by John Hattie to school leaders in Auckland, New Zealand in 2002.  Even though it is a dozen years removed, its relevance is current and its message is still timely.  The whole speech can be found here, but this summary from the document neatly condenses the key messages and pertinent questions:

 ‘Six things School Leaders Should Know About Educational Research’
1. The major difference Principals need to consider is Quality Teaching. 
What success have you had on creating such a climate, and can you provide evidence of creating and valuing discussions among your teachers about their teaching?
2. We need to engage students.

How are you creating a safe psychological climate for engagement, for listening, and for developing a can-do climate for teachers and for students?
3. We need to create climates where quality teaching is the subject of conversation at all times.

Do you have high self-efficacy for managing change towards ensuring that quality teaching is the norm of discussion – How often is teaching the discussion topic in your school?
4. The school mission should be focused, exclude lots, and provide opportunities to learn challenging material.

What do you exclude so as to focus on the important and challenging?
5. You need to be an Instructional Leader – Instruct the staff, monitor their and the students progress.

What evaluation models are you constantly promoting to ask the question about whether your school is working to worthwhile goals?
6. Create positive home-school relationships.

How successful are you at making parents part of the answer not the problem of educational outcomes of your students and teachers?
           (Condensed by Alex Quigley)

Hattie poses crucial questions for school leaders here.  And, as the leaders of our institutions, we could pose these questions to ourselves and to our PLN's. Even further we should open ourselves to our staff's and encourage them to ask these questions of us and of each other.  If you find yourself having deep and meaningful conversations about this then the progress that can be made to impact effect size could be astronomical.

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