John Hattie – What really works?

As a follow up to what was presented on Thursday for staff I have decided to put the video we watched into a post plus expand on some of the things that are in Hattie’s list. The video I showed was a slightly edited version I created in iMovie of the two videos below, in total they are about 3 minutes longer.

Part 1

Part 2


The information below is taken from “Visible Learning by John Hattie (2009) summary by Gerry Miller (North Tyneside EAZ Consultant). Click here to visit a site that has this summary in the form of a link at the bottom of the web page.

The first one that I am going to mention is homework. Homework is not in Hattie’s top 30 and has an overall effect size of .29 and listed at number 88 out of 138. The reason I am putting it in is because of the variance Hattie found between primary school and high school. In primary school the effect size is.15 while at secondary school the effect size is .64 placing it inside the top 20. In the video Hattie mentions that surface level homework is more effective than deep level homework and that homework of more than one hour is less effective.

Another not inside the top 30 but ranked at number 42 with an effect size of .52 is classroom management. I mention this one because there are areas within classroom management that rank exceptionally high by themselves, they include:

  • Teachers ability to identify and act quickly on potential problems. Effect size 1.42
  • Effective disciplinary interventions. Effect size .91
  • Teacher retains emotional objectivity. Effect size .71

Number 1 – Self-reported grades (effect size 1.44)

This influence on learning comes from the student. It is not something teachers have direct control over, but we could influence it. Self-reported grades is when a student predicts their performance based on past achievement. If the student prediction is set to low then it is highly likely their achievement will reflect this. On the flip side if the classroom environment involves the student in goal setting with achievable short term and medium targets to achieve the goal(s) then their predictions are likely to be higher.

Number 4 – Micro Teaching (effect size .88)

Micro teaching is when analysis and reflective teaching occurs often through video taped lessons. It requires peer involvement in the process and discussion with peers about what occurred during the lessons.

Number 8 Teacher clarity (effect size .75)

Communicating clearly the intentions and what success means within a lesson contributed to significant student learning. Organization, explanation, examples, guided practice and clarity of speech from the teacher where prerequisites for teacher clarity.

Number 9 Reciprocal teaching (effect size .74)

This is an instructional process designed to teach students cognitive strategies that could lead to improved learning. Teaching strategies that involve summarising, questioning, clarifying and predicting supported by dialogue between teacher and student. Students take it in turns being the ‘teacher’, with the teacher and student taking it in turns leading discussion so that students are exposed to repeated modelling by the teacher.

Number 10 Feedback (effect size .73)

This is one of the most powerful influences on learning for both teacher and student. Understanding what is quality feedback is important for it to be successful. Feedback is only really effective if it follows up effective instruction. Feedback that focuses on the personal i.e. “You are a great student” is rarely effective in increasing achievement. Task orientated feedback is more powerful.

Number 11 – Teacher student relationship (effect size .72)

The ability for the teacher to develop trust within the classroom between teacher and student and student to student is key to students feeling comfortable in making mistakes. The highest effect sizes within teacher student relationship came from empathy, warmth and encouraging higher order thinking.

Number 19 – Professional development (effect size .62)

The four most effective methods of improving teacher knowledge and behaviour were:

  • Observation
  • Micro teaching (see above)
  • Video/audio feedback
  • Practice

Key to these being successful were – learning over an extended time (not one off), using external experts, challenging teachers, teachers talking to teachers about teaching, opportunities provided to process new information.

Number 26 Direct instruction (effect size .59)

Direct instruction involves having clear learning intentions for the lesson, , ‘hooking’ students into the lesson, modelling, checking for understanding, providing opportunity for students to practice, teacher time to review and clarify and an opportunity for independent practice.

Number 29 Mastery Learning (effect size .58)

This means students learn effectively when provided with:

  • Clear expectations of what it means to master the material.
  • High levels of collaboration (i.e. not competitive).
  • High levels of teacher feedback.
  • The ability to independently self correct.
  • Seeing mistakes as a learning experience.

Number 30 Worked Examples (effect size .57)

Worked examples that demonstrate to students what success looks like are very powerful for assisting student learning. With problem solving, worked examples can be used to reduce stress over what the completed product/task looks like allowing students to focus on the processes that lead to the answer.


These are only a selected few of Hattie’s 138 influences on learning. If you would like to view all 138 and their effect sizes click here.

I hope that after Thursday’s presentation and then having the opportunity to review again through this post that we begin to deeply consider the methods that we use in the classroom. Hopefully something has sparked your interest. Is there something that you could focus on improving during this year with the help of your peers?



2 thoughts on “John Hattie – What really works?

  1. Hi Nick and others. A very stimulating and thought provoking 2 part series. I have Hattie’s ‘Visible Learning for Teachers’ book here with me now, read 1st 2 chapters. I note no posts in relation to this. I wonder about the impact of viewing the clips and what reflection occured as a result. How can these resources be used with the text to stimulate teacher engagement with the concepts? I think this is brilliant work but am not clear how to progress it; love to have that conversation. Maybe for me the starting point is to view it with the leadership team and to ask them, how can we engage with this material to genuinely reflect on teaching through an evidecne based lens? Thanks for stimulating my thinking. Rog

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