Measuring the effectiveness of teaching practices

This is a reproduction of a table in Prof. John Hattie’s book, Visible Learning (2009). The “d” numbers are effect sizes; they measure the effectiveness of teaching practices. It turns out, surprisingly, that d is almost always greater than 0. “When teachers claim that they are having a positive effect on achievement or when a policy improves achievement this is almost a trivial claim: virtually everything works. One only needs a pulse and we can improve achievement.”

After synthesising over 800 meta-analyses representing tens of thousands of studies, Hattie concluded that we should be aiming for an effect size of 0.40 (the overall average) or higher.

The results speak for themselves. Teachers as activators are more effective than teachers as facilitators. On the left, we have Direct Instruction and Mastery learning. On the right, we have Inquiry-based teaching and Problem-based learning.

On which side is the Numeracy Project?


Place-value notation

“Place-value notation” is the third chapter in “Maths in 100 Key Breakthroughs”, by Richard Elwes. It is preceded only by “The evolution of counting” and “Tallies”. Note, the author said columns
…the point being, to use place-value notation but to not allow young children to add and subtract in columns is utterly perverse. This is precisely what the system was designed for.

And before we hear any more dogma, let’s go back to the facts. In 2011, 48% of 5572 New Zealand students averaging 9.9 years of age could not answer correctly a question that involved adding two three-digit numbers.

Come on, people, let’s give these kids a fighting chance.