Visible Learning: Two Useful Tools

One of ABPC consultant Jackie Walsh’s favorite authors is John Hattie, an education researcher and professor in Australia and New Zealand. I ordered his new book, Visible Learning for Teachers, and just opened it this past weekend to begin reading.

Something I always try to do before reading a book is to examine the table of contents and look at appendices for “treasures.” I found two real treasures in the appendices of this book — two tools that help raise awareness about the effectiveness of teaching and learning in your school.

The first is a checklist for visible learning. I won’t share the whole checklist here, but the first section will give you a good idea of what it measures and how it could be used in schools to help sharpen the focus on learning. (If you have the book, you can freely photocopy the checklist.)

SCALE: Strongly Disagree (1); Generally Disagree (2); Partly Disagree (3); Partly Agree (4); Generally Agree (5); Strongly Agree (6)

Imagine the scale of 1-6 to the right of each of these statements below:

Inspired and Passionate Teaching

1. All adults in this school recognize that:

a. there is variation among teachers in their impact on student learning and achievement

b. all (school leaders, teachers, parents, students) place high value on having major positive effects on all students; and

c. all are vigilant about building expertise to create positive effects on achievement for all students.

2. This school has convincing evidence that all of its teachers are passionate and inspired — and this should be the major promotion attribute of this school.

3. This school has a professional development program that:

a. enhances teachers’ deeper understandings of their subject(s)

b. supports learning through analyses of the teachers’ classroom interactions with students;

c. helps teachers to know how to provide effective feedback;

d. attends to students’ affective attributes; and

e. develops the teacher’s ability to influence students’ surface and deep learning

Other major checklist categories include: Planning, Starting the Lesson, During the Lesson: Learning; During the Lesson: Feedback.

THE OTHER TREASURE is the Irving Student Evaluation of Accomplished Teaching Scale. The scale is similar to the one above with 1 = Strongly Disagree and 6 = Strongly Agree. Here are some sample statements:

Commitment to Students and Their Learning

This teacher . . .

1. is committed to the learning of all the students in the class.

2. adjusts the lesson if we experience difficulties in learning.

3. enables us to develop confidence and self-esteem in this subject.

4. uses assessment results to provide extra help/extension to appropriate students.

5. creates a positive atmosphere in class in which we feel part of a team of learners

6. provides times for us to reflect and talk about the concepts that we are learning.

Other major categories in the Irving Student Evaluation include: Pedagogy in this Subject; Student Engagement With the Curriculum; Relationship Between Subject and the Real World. (Hattie also grants permission to copy this instrument.)

AS I READ Hattie’s new book, I’m sharing some of my discoveries with the Alabama Instructional Partners Learning Network, a project of the ALSDE that we’re supporting through face-to-face and virtual professional learning experiences. I thought I’d share what I’m learning here in our ABPC blog as well. Watch for a second installment soon!