Reflections on John Hattie’s Visible Learning Meta-analysis Research


I had the chance to hear John Hattie speak at the Canadian Association for School System Administrators conference in July 2014 in Calgary. It was an exciting event – I had just finished reading Visible Learning and was just starting Visible Learning for Teachers. So many of the questions I had about how I should focus my efforts as a Teacher were validated or enhanced by Hattie’s research. The fact that our school division had embraced Hattie’s evidence based best practice research was serindipitous; the fact that it all made so much sense and aligned with other best practice literature (e.g. Friesen’s Teacher Effectiveness Framework) made it impactful reading on how i moved forward with my work in the Calgary Board of Education. This blog post aims to capture some of the big ideas of Hattie’s work.


Rank ordering influences of student achievement is a great summary of his research, and although Hattie’s interpretation of each influence is critical, I wanted to provide a series of rank order lists for easy reference.
Hattie categorizes influences according to various domains: student, teacher, teaching, curricula, home, school. He also provides a d value which is a type of effect size, the standardized mean effect, and expresses the mean difference between two groups in standard deviation units. Here are the influences on student learning separated by domain and ranked by the d value.

For a glossary of what each of these terms mean visit

Influences on student acheivement – Student domain
1. Self reported grades d 1.44
2. Piagetian programs d 1.28
14. Prior Achievement d 0.67
38. Pre term birthweight d 0.54
49 Concentration/persistence/engagement d 0.48

Influences on student achievement – Teaching domain
3. Providing Formative evaluation d 0.9
7. Comprehensive intervention for learning disabled Ss d 0.77
9. Reciprical teaching d 0.74
10. Feedback d 0.73
12. Spaced vs Massed practice d 0.71

Influences on student achievement – Teacher domain
4. Micro Teaching d 0.88
8. Teacher Clarity d 0.75
11. Teacher Student Relationship d 0.72
19 Professional Development d 0.62
21. Not Labeling Students d 0.61

Influences on student achievement – School domain
5. Acceleration d 0.88
6. Classroom Behavioural d 0.80
39 Classroom Cohesion d 0.53
41 Peer Influences d 0.53
42 Classroom Management d 0.52


Hattie’s research is extensive and significant in its findings. Visible Learning provides research based evidence of what we should be focusing on first in our teaching and schools. What we do as teachers makes a difference.

This year i am excited about working on a number of projects in a variety of schools focusing on building capacity of teachers in our school division. I’ll be sharing out my learning as I walk alongside teachers and we learn together.



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