Classroom evidence

Classroom evidence

Research into classroom practice tells us what works best, so it’s a great place to start! Want to know more? You’ve come to the right place.

A diagram showing how classroom experiments feed into evidence-based teaching
We’ve used three sources for our classroom evidence. Each has a slightly different objective so they have slightly differing results, but there are significant common strands that we can pull together and use to inform our classroom teaching.

Visible Learning
by John Hattie

Classroom Instruction That Works
by Robert Marzano/ Ceri Dean

Teaching & Learning Toolkit
from the Educational Endowment Foundation

John Hattie:
Visible Learning

An image of the book Visible Learning by John Hattie

John Hattie headed a team of researchers for twenty years who have trawled the world for evidence about the effectiveness of teaching interventions.  They produced a list of the effectiveness of each teaching intervention that they studied. All the results have been put on the same scale (effect size) so we can compare them easily.

Hattie found an average effect size of 0.40, so he judged the success of the influences in relation to this “hinge point”, in order to answer the question of what works best in education.  All the methods we show in EBTN have an effect-size above this hinge-point.

John Hattie: Visible Learning

John Hattie headed a team of researchers for twenty years who have trawled the world for evidence about the effectiveness of teaching interventions. They produced a list of the effectiveness of each teaching intervention that they studied. All the results have been put on the same scale (effect size) so we can compare them easily.

Hattie found an average effect size of 0.40, so he judged the success of the influences in relation to this “hinge point”, in order to answer the question of what works best in education.  All the methods we show in EBTN have an effect-size above this hinge-point.

An image of the book Visible Learning by John Hattie

In Visible Learning, the research team ranked 138 influences in six areas: the student, the home, the school, the curricula, the teacher, and teaching and learning approaches.

If we take only the most effective classroom methods, we get the list on the right. The most effective is acceleration, followed by behaviour and reciprocal teaching. Keep reading the website to find out more!

Wondering what’s bottom of the list? The research team found that the least effective interventions, all with negative effect sizes, are: summer vacation, welfare policies, retention, television, and mobility.

Want to read more? Click here to buy a copy from Amazon, or click here to check out the Visible Learning website.

Hattie’s top classroom methods

  1. Acceleration
  2. Behaviour
  3. Reciprocal teaching
  4. Feedback
  5. Spaced practice
  6. Metacognitive strategies
  7. Vocabulary programmes
  8. Repeated reading
  9. Creativity programmes
  10. Self-verbalisation
  11. Problem-solving
  12. Not labelling students
  13. Phonics
  14. Cooperative learning
  15. Direct instruction
  16. Tactile stimulation
  17. Comprehension

Hattie’s work is a bit controversial. Here are the three main limitations to his work, along with our take on each.

1. The numbers are inflated. They used all the available evidence, including small scale studies which tend to show a higher effect size than bigger studies. This means Hattie’s effect sizes are often higher than other calculations.
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2. The top two are correlations rather than effects. These are self-report grades and Piagetian programs.
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3. The list is like comparing apples with oranges – they’re not comparable. We can’t be sure that cooperative learning in one study is the same as that in others, so we can’t be sure that the results can be compared with each other.

We say: The order of the list is unaffected, and it still gives us a good idea of the most effective things to try.

We say: We have not included these two because they are not classroom methods.

We say: The effect size shown is an average of several experiments, so we can be sure that several variants of cooperative learning are effective. Also, cooperative learning appears on other research.

Hattie’s work is a bit controversial. Here are the three main limitations to his work, along with our take on each.
1. The numbers are inflated. They used all the available evidence, including small scale studies which tend to show a higher effect size than bigger studies. This means Hattie’s effect sizes are often higher than other calculations.
We say: The order of the list is unaffected, and it still gives us a good idea of the most effective things to try.
2. The top two are correlations rather than effects. These are self-report grades and Piagetian programs.
We say: We have not included these two because they are not classroom methods.
3. The list is like comparing apples with oranges – they’re not comparable. We can’t be sure that cooperative learning in one study is the same as that in others, so we can’t be sure that the results can be compared with each other.
We say: The effect size shown is an average of several experiments, so we can be sure that several variants of cooperative learning are effective. Also, cooperative learning appears on other research.

Educational Endowment Foundation:
Teaching & Learning Toolkit

An image of the Educational Endowment Foundation logo

The Educational Endowment Foundation teamed up with the Sutton Trust to put together the Teaching and Learning Toolkit. It is designed to provide guidance on how to use resources to improve the attainment of disadvantaged pupils, or in other words, to help schools decide how to spend their Pupil Premium (extra payment for “at risk” pupils).

The Toolkit is a list covering 34 topics, showing the average impact on attainment, the strength of the supporting evidence, and the cost. These topics selected were based on: approaches commonly mentioned in education policy, suggestions from schools, or approaches with a strong evidence of effectiveness.

Educational Endowment Foundation: Teaching & Learning Toolkit

The Educational Endowment Foundation teamed up with the Sutton Trust to put together the Teaching and Learning Toolkit. It is designed to provide guidance on how to use resources to improve the attainment of disadvantaged pupils, or in other words, to help schools decide how to spend their Pupil Premium (extra payment for “at risk” pupils).
An image of the Educational Endowment Foundation logo

Each topic is measured in “months’ impact” which is the number of additional months’ progress you can expect as a result of an approach used. This measurement is based on effect size and you can estimate the effect size equivalent by making 12 months equal to an effect size of 1.0.

Their overall top 10 interventions (as of Feb 2017) are: feedback, meta-cognition and self-regulation, mastery learning, homework (secondary), peer tutoring, reading comprehension strategies, oral language interventions, one to one tuition, early years interventions, and collaborative learning.

On the right is their top classroom methods. Feedback is at the top, followed by metacognition and peer tutoring.

In case you’re interested, their bottom 5 are: repeating a year, setting or streaming, block scheduling, aspiration interventions, and school uniform.

The Toolkit is a live resource which is updated regularly – click here to have a look. Since it’s often updated, it might not be identical to the information shown here, but differences are marginal and won’t affect the overall picture.

EEF top classroom methods

  1. Feedback
  2. Metacognition
  3. Peer tutoring
  4. Early years intervention
  5. One to one tuition
  6. Homework (secondary school)
  7. Collaborative learning
  8. Oral language intervention
  9. Mastery learning
  10. Phonics
  11. Small group tuition
  12. Behaviour interventions

Robert Marzano/ Ceri Dean:
Classroom Instruction That Works

An image of the book Classroom Instruction That Works by Robert Marzano/ Ceri Dean

Robert Marzano worked with others to produce Classroom Instruction That Works in 2001. This book is a major review of hundreds of classroom experiments done in Colorado, USA. The second edition is edited by Ceri Dean et al.

From the research, Marzano pulled out nine instructional strategies that are likely to improve student achievement across all grades (year groups) and subjects.

Robert Marzano/ Ceri Dean: Classroom Instruction That Works

Robert Marzano worked with others to produce Classroom Instruction That Works in 2001. This book is a major review of hundreds of classroom experiments done in Colorado, USA. The second edition is edited by Ceri Dean et al.

From the research, Marzano pulled out nine instructional strategies that are likely to improve student achievement across all grades (year groups) and subjects.

An image of the book Classroom Instruction That Works by Robert Marzano/ Ceri Dean

 

These nine top classroom methods are shown on the right. At the top of the list are similes and analogies, followed by note-making and summarising, and growth mindset.

Want to read more? Click here to buy a copy from Amazon.

 

 

Marzano/ Dean top classroom methods

  1. Similes and analogies; similarities and differences
  2. Note-making and summarizing
  3. Growth mindset
  4. Repetition (practice)
  5. Graphical methods
  6. Cooperative learning
  7. Goals; Feedback
  8. Hypothesis testing
  9. Prior knowledge; advance organisers

 

So we’ve had a look at our three classroom evidence sources, but where does that take us? Let’s have a look at the big picture so far.
The three sources have some remarkably similar findings. We’ve put together a table that shows the top recommendations from each, with colour coding to show the links between them. As you can see, there are quite a few common themes, which shows us we’re on the right track!
A comparison table showing the top classroom methods from each of the three sources of evidence, colour coded to show similarities between the lists