Visible Learning

Self expression & acting

Visible Learning

Much of the WLW is underpinned by the well-known Visible Learning research of John Hattie. His most recent research synthesises 1400 meta-analyses relating to the influences on achievement in school-aged children. It presents the largest ever collection of evidence-based research into what actually works (and doesn’t work) to increase student achievement. He uses effect sizes to compare the impact of many influences on student achievement, where an effect size of 0.4 represents one year’s growth over the course of one school year. An effect size of greater that 0.4 indicates the potential for accelerated achievement.

The staff at WLPS understands the factors that have the highest impact on student achievement. They use this information to contribute to strategic decision-making around the future directions of the school, when collaboratively developing and refining whole-school plans, and when planning lessons. Some of the top influences from Hattie’s studies, their most recent effect sizes, and a summary of how they are incorporated into the WLW include: 

Response to Intervention 1.29

RTI is the provision of early, systematic assistance to children who are struggling in one or many areas of their learning. When a student does not respond to assistance, it may trigger the need for an evaluation to determine if the student qualifies for special education services.

WLPS has very comprehensive systems in place to:

– provide quality differentiated teaching practice to all students,

– identify students who may be at educational risk,

– provide targeted intervention to students at educational risk,

– secure disabilities allocations, and

– appropriately resource classes.

Classroom Discussion 0.82

At WLPS, teachers often involve entire classes in discussions. This creates opportunities for:

  • students to improve their communication skills
  • students to learn from each other
  • the teacher to gauge student understanding (a form of formative evaluation)
  • the teacher to provide feedback and to correct misunderstandings/errors

Collaborative learning structures may be used before whole-class discussions to help to create a safe environment for sharing and to encourage greater participation.

Teacher Clarity 0.75

Teacher clarity is the organisation, explanation, examples and guided practice, and assessment of student learning. In Hattie’s Visible Learning text, an example of teacher clarity is the clear statement of learning goals and success criteria.

This is a key feature of West Leederville’s explicit teaching approach and implementation of the Gradual Release of Responsibility model. This approach also includes worked examples, guided practice, and the provision of immediate feedback and correction. All of these elements are essential to teacher clarity.

Feedback 0.70

Teachers should give feedback on task, process and self-regulation, rather than praise (which doesn’t contain any learning information).

Effective feedback:

  • is clear, purposeful, meaningful and compatible with prior knowledge
  • is focussed on the learning intention and success criteria
  • occur as students are doing the learning; therefore, verbal feedback is much more effective than written
  • provide information on how and why the student has or has not met the criteria
  • provide strategies for improvement

According to Hattie, feedback is useful when it addresses the fundamental questions of “where am I going?”, “how am I going?” and “where to next?” These questions are powerful as they reduce the gap between where the student is, and where they are meant to be, in reference to their learning goals. Another form of powerful feedback is that sought by the teacher – where students show the teacher what they have learned (formative assessment).

As part of our explicit teaching culture, teachers regularly provide instructive feedback during the ‘we do’ and ‘you do’ phases. Importantly, explicit instruction often emphasises the positive function of errors – when teachers make immediate corrections to ensure achievement of learning goals. This type of ‘error training’ can lead to higher performance in classrooms if the teacher has created a safe environment in which students are comfortable in taking risks.

Teachers also use student assessment data, and seek feedback from students in lesson plenaries, as a source of feedback on the effectiveness of their teaching practice. Feedback is also sought from students in our 360 degree performance improvement process.

In the school’s 2017 IPS Review Findings, the reviewers stated: “Discussions with student leaders showed that the setting of achievement goals and the ongoing provision of feedback from teachers about their performance was having a powerful and positive impact on their learning”.

Appropriately challenging goals 0.59 and Learning Goals/Learning Intentions v No Goals 0.68

Learning intentions are descriptions of what learners should know, understand and be able to do by the end of a learning period or unit (AITSL). In addition to learning intentions, students may also have individual learning goals.

Learning intentions are most effective when:

  • they provide students with an appropriate level of challenge
  • they are matched to activities and assessment tasks
  • students share a commitment to achieving them (as they are more likely to seek feedback)
  • they are referenced throughout the lesson, and not just at the beginning or the end

Students at WLPS set goals in many aspects of their learning. In addition, as part of our explicit teaching approach, teachers regularly set learning intentions and use these to:

  • ensure all students know what they are going to learn
  • provide a basis for feedback
  • track and assess progress
  • help teachers to gauge the impact of their teaching

Explicit Teaching Strategies 0.57

  • refer to explicit instruction section

Phonics Instruction 0.70

Phonics is specialised instruction that enables beginning readers to crack a complex a complex alphabet code, English. Cracking this code effectively frees up resources for comprehension.

Evidence supports the implementation of explicit and systematic phonics instruction that focuses on developing a sound and deep understanding between the arrangement of the letters in a word (spelling) and its pronunciation (decoding).

Systematic phonics programs help students understand why they are learning the relationships between letters and sounds, teach in a logical and progressive sequence and support student application of phonic knowledge as they read and write. Phonics instruction is necessary but not sufficient. It is important to teach deep orthographic knowledge about morphemes and rules.

At WLPS, a synthetic phonics program called Letter and Sounds is taught from Kindergarten to Year 2. This program builds children’s speaking and listening skills in conjunction with their phonemic understandings to prepare them for learning to read. It sets out a detailed and systematic program for teaching phonic skills for children.

From Year 3 to Year 6 the chosen spelling program is Words Their Way, a teacher-directed, student-centred approach to vocabulary growth and spelling development whereby students engage in a variety of sound, pattern and meaning activities, sorting pictures and words. This program caters for differentiated learning in the classroom

Scaffolding 0.82
The purpose of scaffolding is to simplify tasks and reduce the cognitive load when a student is not yet able to perform the task. Scaffolding provides support and may take the form of:

  • the provision of knowledge
  • the demonstration of strategies
  • modelling
  • questioning
  • instructing
  • offering feedback or correction
  • restructuring a task

At WLPS, scaffolding is inherent in our use of the Gradual Release of Responsibility Model and explicit teaching. Many of our chosen whole-school programs also provide high levels of scaffolding. Teachers may plan to use scaffolds when they are designing lessons, or flexibly implement them when a point of need is identified during a lesson.