Wednesday, December 5, 2012


There are many assumptions that we make about a student in terms of achievement and a few come to mind; home life, parents, the school, and teachers.  As an educator I have heard many times that we cannot do anything about that kid because of their home and the parents that they have.  I have always felt that WE can overcome these assumptions. Together we can melt away the effects of poverty, home life, and other barriers. I am reading Visible Learning by John Hattie and after reading a few chapters I am comforted that research backs up my claim of overcoming these assumptions.

Lets take a look at several of these issues that we sometimes deem as barriers to student success.  First we need to understand the reporting device that Hattie uses.  


"1.0 indicates an increase of one standard deviation on the outcome...A one standard deviation increase is typically associated with advancing children's achievement by two to three years." (Hattie, 2009, p.7)

Anything over .40 deviation is deemed as substantial impact either positively or negatively on student achievement.  I am thankful that the top 30 impacts on student achievement all happen within the school.  We often see socioeconomic status, home life, parent structure, and motivation as major barriers.  Hattie's research shows that there are things that we can do at school that can overcome issues that may be out of our control.  I want to touch on a few of these areas and compare the impact on student achievement.  Some examples from Visible Learning that overcome socioeconomic status and home life are; 

Rank - Influence - Scale Score (Use the scale above to see impact) (Hattie, 2009, p. 299)

#3 - Formative Assessments - .90 on the scale 
#7 - Comprehensive Interventions - .77
#8 - Teacher Clarity - . 75
#10 - Feedback - .73
#11 - Teacher to Student Relationships - .72
#31 - Home Environment - .57
#32 - Socioeconomic Status - .57
#38 - Pre-Term Birth Weight - .54
#51 - Student Motivation - .48
#88 - Homework - .29

There are so many programs and practices that we use that are inneffective or that have little impact on achievement.  Hattie's work provides clarity based in research as to what is effective and ineffective.  This gives me some basis when I say that we can overcome poverty and home life at school.  


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