Middle School Update
October 9, 2015
Active Learning: The Biggest Losers
Today I want to continue our previous discussion based on John Hattie’s book, Visible Learning. The book takes the data from 800 meta-analyses relating to student achievement and rates the relationship between various factors that influence students and the impact of these factors on student learning. Anything that has a score of .4 or higher has a positive impact on student learning, with the higher the score correlating to the higher the impact. Scores that range from .4-.2 reflect a neutral impact, meaning that they don’t help improve student learning but don’t detract from it either, and scores below .2 reflect negative effects that have a detrimental impact on learning.
So far this quarter I’ve discussed a few of the effects that rank highest for having the ability to improve student learning: 1.44=student expectations (mindset), .9=teacher credibility (trust, competence, dynamism, immediacy), and .9=student feedback to teachers. As you can see from the scores assigned to these effects, they provide a powerful opportunity to improve student learning. In a few weeks, I will keep going through the list of the highest ranked effects, but I wanted to take a moment to discuss some of the lowest effects because they shed an interesting light on some of the challenges we face at Dalat. As we are ending the quarter, I want you to consider how these effects have influenced your students’ learning the last 9 weeks:
Negative influences on education:
- .34 Mobility: Kids moving from school to school is the single most detrimental factor in education. In our context, mobility is the biggest obstacle we have to help many of our students overcome. How many of your students just moved to Penang? This is impacting their learning!
- .18 Television: Spending 2 hours or more a day watching television is harmful to student achievement. This would hold true to entertainment via any device. How many of our struggling students go home to video games and non-stop time online?
- .13 Retention: Holding students back a grade does not improve their overall chance of academic success and in fact is detrimental to them. (This is true for retentions above early elementary.) Due to moving or second language issues, sometimes our students have to be placed below their grade level. This is another obstacle we have to help them overcome.
As I look at these factors, it helps me to understand some of the students who are struggling in my classes. This doesn’t excuse them from responsibility, but it does help me understand the challenges they’re facing.