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WHAT WORKS BEST IN EDUCATION:THE POLITICS OF COLLABORATIVE EXPERTISE

How can we ensure that every student achieves at least one year’s progress for one year of schooling?

Governments and schools have spent billions of dollars trying to fix education. But evidence shows that many popular solutions have little impact on student learning.

In two new reports, renowned education researcher John Hattie explores common policy “fixes” that distract from other, potentially better, solutions.

Join the conversation at blog.pearson.com.

TASK 1. SHIFT THE NARRATIVE

The first step is reframing the conversation to focus on progress. High achievement and standards are not ends in themselves; everyone from teachers and school leaders, to parents and policymakers should be working together towards ensuring every child receives at least one year’s worth of progress for one year’s input.

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TASK 2. AGREE ON WHAT A YEAR’S PROGRESS LOOKS LIKE

There needs to be debate and agreement among educators about what a year’s progress looks like, which may be different for each student depending on their starting point. This shared understanding will reduce the variability in teachers’ understanding of challenge and progression for students, and is the only way to truly accelerate progress.

TASK 3. EXPECT A YEAR’S WORTH OF PROGRESS

One of the greatest influences on learning is the expectations of the students and teachers. When students have teachers with high expectations, they tend to be very successful in achieving their goals and are turned on to learning.

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TASK 4. DEVELOP NEW ASSESSMENT AND EVALUATION TOOLS

We have to find better ways of helping teachers and students use assessments to optimize teaching and learning. Too much weight is placed on using tests to measure achievement, instead of forming the basis for different interventions or more support. Evaluation tools should shape learning rather than simply measure it.

TASK 5. KNOW THY IMPACT!

School leaders should create an environment that enables excellent teaching and strong communication among teachers, parents and students. With a focus on making an impact, teachers should identify upfront what success looks like.

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TASK 6. ENSURE TEACHERS HAVE EXPERTISE IN DIAGNOSIS, INTERVENTION AND EVALUATION

Not surprisingly, the education interventions with the biggest impact almost always relate back to the teacher. Educators need to understand what each student already knows and where they need to go next, be experts in using an array of interventions to help get the student there and then to evaluate the impact that they’ve made.

TASK 7. STOP IGNORING WHAT WE KNOW AND SCALE UP SUCCESS

There is a tremendous amount of consistency across education - each year, students face challenges similar to the students before them, and we have a wealth of knowledge about how to best address those challenges. Teachers should therefore be encouraged to use existing approaches and ideas that have already been proven to be successful with students.

TASK 8. LINK AUTONOMY TO A YEAR’S PROGRESS

Where teachers are enabling all students to gain at least a year’s growth for a year’s input, they should be given autonomy - which they have earned. Their strategies and tactics should be shared among the teaching community to help increase the expertise of all teachers.

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  • The paper
  • About open ideas

WHAT WORKS BEST IN EDUCATION: THE POLITICS OF COLLABORATIVE EXPERTISE

By John Hattie

John Hattie is Professor and Director of the Melbourne Education Research Institute at the University of Melbourne, Australia, and Deputy Director of the Science of Learning Research Centre. He is the author of Visible Learning and Visible Learning for Teachers, the co-author (with Gregory C. R. Yates) of Visible Learning and the Science of How We Learn and co-editor (with Eric Anderman) of the International Guide to Student Achievement.

Download PDF (Spanish translation)

John Hattie

About Open Ideas

Pearson’s goal is to help people make progress in their lives through learning. This means we’re always learning too.

This series of publications, Open Ideas, is one of the ways in which we do this. We work with some of the best minds in education - from teachers and technologists, to researchers and big thinkers - to bring their independent ideas and insights to a wider audience.

How do we learn, and what keeps us motivated to do so? What is the body of knowledge and skills that learners need as we move into the second half of the twenty-first century? How can smart digital technologies be best deployed to realise the goal of a more personalised education? How can we build education systems that provide high quality learning opportunities to all?

These questions are too important for the best ideas to stay only in the lecture theatre, on the bookshelf or alone in one classroom. Instead they need to be found and supported, shared and debated, adopted and refined.

Our hope is that Open Ideas helps with this task, and that you will join the conversation.

Read other reports in the Open Ideas series