What works in education – Hattie’s list of the greatest effects and why it matters

Granted, and...

[UPDATE February 2015: Over the past few years, numerous people have commented on my last paragraph as being an overstated and overheated conclusion, unwarranted by the data and of no help in advancing reform. Fair enough: I have come to think that they are correct. So, a new concluding comment is attached, with the old concluding paragraph available for inspection. I agree with my critics: there is no need to pile on teachers in this era of teacher-bashing – and it was not my point. My point was to say: we can improve learning, so let’s do it.]

[UPDATE 11/2014: There have been recent reports suggesting that some of Hattie’s math is flawed. I am not in a position yet to judge the validity of the critique nor, perhaps more importantly, to determine the impact of that critique on the overall findings. The author of the statistics critique in fact suggests that…

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Post -Test Self Assessment: Giving Specific Feedback


A lot of educators have expressed frustration over the A-F Report card system that basically sums up the effectiveness of the entire school to one letter grade.  One of the big complaint(there are many) revolves around the fact that it is impossible for one letter to really tell us everything that goes into the success (or lack of success) of a schools.

I bring this up, not to get into the local politics of education, but to illustrate a point.  As teachers, how can we make sure we are giving students the feedback they need in order to improve?  Sometimes it is easy to fall into the habit of simply reporting grades to students, rather than providing feedback that leads to improvement.

With over one hundred and fifty students, teachers understandable have a hard time of providing useful feedback for students after each assessment, especially following multiple choice tests.  We give the test, pass back the scores, and sometimes we go over the questions that a lot of students missed.  Then we move on.

I wanted to share a strategy that asks us to do just a little bit more in order to give students a clear picture of their own progress.  Clicking the link at the top will take you to a word document of the following chart:



Objective or Learning Target
DOK Level  (1-4) Right Wrong Oops! ??? Justification: (Use evidence from text where appropriate).

The Process

Step 1:After creating assessment, teacher lists the objective or learning target that the question addresses and the Depth of Knowledge Level (optional).


Step 2:  Teacher passes out test results and students mark the ones they missed,


Step 3: Students look at the questions and decide if they missed it because they really didn’t know it, or if it was just a simple mistake.

Step 4: Students correct the questions they missed and write justifications based on the text (this should be done pretty soon after the test was taken, so it is still fresh in their minds).



A number of activities could be used to follow this self-evaluation:

– Students analyze patterns based on the test and rank objectives/learning targets in order of difficulty for them.

– Students brainstorm ideas about how they can go back and “prove” they have relearned the content (Student-directed assessment).

– Students can use this process to track and even chart their own progress (especially if the DoK’s are listed).

– Students can create their own learning goals based on results of the assessment

– Students can reflect on what activities (note-taking, small group activities…) contributed to their learning of the content.

Sports Metaphor:

Here I go with another sports metaphor.  Any athlete learning a skill needs almost immediate feedback on how he is executing that skill.  Take a youth soccer player who keeps kicking with his toe, even though his coach is constantly preaching the youth soccer coach mantra, “Say No to the Toe!”  To be more effective that player may need specific feedback from that coach immediately after he kicks the ball poorly.  The feedback would also have to be specific and may involve having the player perform it correctly before he is let off the hook.  Imagine if coaches just said you aren’t doing it right get back in line and try again, or even worse expecting them to do it right in a game with never having been coached to do it correctly in practice.

In the classroom, let’s make sure we are as explicit as possible with students about their strengths and weaknesses in relationship to the standards.  It seems logical that a student who realizes what he does and doesn’t know has a lot better chance to succeed than a student who doesn’t.