About the Post

Author Information

Assistant Superintendent

Part 2: What instructional approaches matter most?

If you didn’t look at Part 1, go here before continuing.

Hattie synthesized thousands of studies to come to the conclusions listed below.  In Part 3 we will look beyond the numbers to the context and interpretation required to decide what is worth the investment of your time as a teacher.   After all, some approaches are easier than others.  See how your intuition aligns with the research base.

Hattie’s Research results

Hattie reviewed 150 separate influences (higher rankings indicate smaller  impacts). Thus the least effective strategy is ranked 150 and the most effect strategy or instructional approach is ranked number 1.

Classification  Low (ES below 0.3),  Medium (ES 0.3-0.59), High (ES over 0.6)

ES- Effect Size

Hattie’s Research results

ES effect size

Influence                                                                        ES      RANK    Classification

Retention (holding back a year)                                    -0.13    148        Low

Student control over learning                                          0.04     144        Low

Whole language programs                                            0.06  140        Low

Teacher subject matter knowledge                                0.09     136        Low

Gender (male vs female learning)                                 0.12     133        Low

Ability grouping/tracking/streaming                                0.12     131        Low

Matching teaching with student learning style               0.17      125       Low

Within-class grouping                                                    0.18      120       Low

Reducing class size                                                       0.21      113       Low

Individualizing instruction                                               0.22      109       Low

Using simulations and gaming                                       0.33      88         Medium

Teacher expectations                                                     0.43      62         Medium

Professional development on student achievement      0.51      47         Medium

Home environment                                                        0.52      44         Medium

Influence of peers                                                          0.53      41         Medium

Phonics instruction                                                         0.54     36          Medium

Providing worked examples                                           0.57     32          Medium

Direct instruction                                                            0.59     29          Medium

Cooperative vs individualistic learning                           0.59     28          Medium

Concept mapping                                                           0.60     27          High

Comprehensive programs                                              0.60     26          High

Vocabulary programs                                                      0.67    17          High

Acceleration (for instance, skipping a year)                   0.68     15          High

Meta-cognitive strategy programs                                  0.69     14          High

Teacher-student relationships                                         0.72     12         High

Reciprocal teaching                                                        0.74     11          High

Feedback                                                                        0.75     10         High

Providing formative evaluation to teachers                     0.90     4           High

Teacher credibility in eyes of the students                      0.90     4            High

Student expectations                                                      1.44      1           High


4 Comments on “Part 2: What instructional approaches matter most?”

  1. Marcie Look September 8, 2013 at 8:46 pm #

    I’m not quite sure how he defined or researched some of these highly effective strategies, such as “student expectations” or “teacher credibility in the eyes…” Are you going to share more parts in the future explaining those? Thanks!

  2. shawncarlson September 9, 2013 at 7:06 pm #

    Thanks for the questions Marcie. First Hattie performed analysis of other studies, most of which were of the type known as Meta-analysis. In a meta-analysis a researcher reviews the research conducted by others and determines the overall effect-size for each research study. Often this requires the review of 10’s to 100’s of studies involving thousands of students. The goal is to find the similarities and differences in the results obtained across many studies. Hattie performed what might be called meta-analyses of multiple meta-analyses.

    “Student Expectations” was short hand for a series of studies involving over 80,000 students that compared student self reported grades (the grade they expected to attain) and their eventual performance on school tasks. However, according to these studies, what was important in improving student performance compared to students who were not asked to self-assess, was to build into the process opportunities to reflect on their self-assessment and their latter effort and achievement. In other words, systems that asked students to estimate how they thought they would do on new material, need to also then also ask to reflect on how hard they worked on the unit and compare this against their eventual summary assessments. As might seem obvious the goal is to help students see the connection between their engagement and effort and their eventual achievement. Jane Pollock has written extensively on one method to accomplish this (see this article for an introduction http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational-leadership/sept12/vol70/num01/How-Feedback-Leads-to-Engagement.aspx).

    One interesting aspect of this research which is based upon brain research and engagement studies, is that two groups of students are very poor at making reasonable estimates of their performance; minority students and lower achieving students. Both groups often underestimate their performance and eventually these estimates can become self-fulling prophecies. Helping these students to raise their expectations is one of the more difficult challenges for a teacher. Yet the research is clear that students who articulate their expectations and are asked to reflect on both their effort and eventual performance have been shown to raise both their expectations AND their performance.

    I would encourage you to look at the third post in the series for some links to Hattie’s books. You will find explanations and detail for all of the instructional approaches listed here and more, over 150 are described in his books.


  1. What elements of Domain 1 provide the greatest impact on student achievement? | Rocky Channels Central Office Blog - October 8, 2014

    […] PART 2: What instructional approaches matter most? […]

  2. Visible Learning for Teachers | Rocky Channels Central Office Blog - May 12, 2015

    […] have posted before about John Hattie’s work (Here, here, here, and here).  His two books provide the most comprehensive research based analysis of what […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: