Monday, September 14, 2015

What Really Improves Achievement?

I think the question in the title of this blog post is what my mother would call a "Sixty-four thousand dollar question." (It's from a U.S. game show that was on TV in the late 50's.) I think there A LOT of educators looking not just for a silver bullet, but for something meaningful that will help students achieve at high levels. There's so much of teaching and learning that falls in the ART of teaching, and it's great when the SCIENCE affirms what we know from experience to be true. But what if the science doesn't back up what we think is best for learning?

It's important to pay attention to the research that is done to confirm or dispute traditional practices. In today's blog post I will 

One of my most popular tweets ever was one I shared last summer, so it led me to share several of John Hattie's findings that he writes about in this month's issue of District Administration(The entire article can be found online HERE.)

Myth: Ability grouping is effective. While some argue that ability grouping is necessary to meet the needs of all students, it shows little impact on achievement. So, when thinking of separating students into Honors and regular-level classes or even grouping students within your class by ability levels, think again. Treat every student like he's your best student.

Myth: Project-based learning and inquiry is the route to better student achievementHattie says that students must master concepts prior to project-base learning in order to maximize the learning potential. He also says that cross-curricular projects are not as effective as problem-based learning within one content area.

Myth: Smaller class sizes improve learning. Hattie's analysis of research reveals that smaller class sizes don't improve learning because teachers don't change their instruction.


As school leaders, it's important to pay attention to what the research reveals, and examine practices in our school to ensure that what we are doing is what's best for students. 

Which myth is the biggest surprise to you?

You can read about all 8 myths shared by John Hattie by clicking HERE.

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