Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Innovation: the problems!

It might seem strange to have a warning about innovation overload on an "innovation in education" blog, but as a big fan of John Hattie's work I am particularly keen to cite his work.
In his new book, Visible Learning (pictured), Hattie warns that it is almost a trivial claim to say that a policy or innovation works because almost everything works! In fact, his research shows 95% of everything we do to improve education can be shown to have a positive impact on student achievement. So the challenge is not so much to find something that works, but to invest time, effort and money into innovations that make a SIGNIFICANT difference to student progress.

He goes on to say that teachers average an effect of between 0.20 and 0.40 per year on student achievement. So, schools should be seeking an effect size greater than 0.40 for their achievement gains to be considered above average and greater than 0.60 to be considered outstanding.

Teaching test-taking, homework, competitive learning, audio-visual innovations, ability grouping, initial teacher training and healthy schools are all included in the LESS than average (below 0.40) typical effect size. Whereas in the over 0.60 category (outstanding) can be found creative curricula, phonics instruction, cooperative learning strategies, Piagetian programmes (teaching students at one level above where they are at) and feedback.

For more information, I highly recommend Visible Learning published by Routledge.

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