Some Initial Thoughts on “Visible Learning For Teachers” by John Hattie

As a read through the first few chapters of Visible Learning For Teachers by John Hattie, I was immediately drawn to his statements about student learning and impact. According to Hattie, almost any intervention/influence in education and has a positive effect on achievement when the bar is set low. When the bar is set at zero everything works. Through his 900+ meta-analyses involving 60 167 studies and 88 652 074 people, Hattie was able to determine a benchmark that he used to compare the effects of a total of 138 interventions. He then used this benchmark to set a bar in order to identify the effectiveness of an influence such as homework. Using the effect sizes of influences and his benchmark, Hattie was able to rank 138 influences from most effective to least effective.

Hattie’s benchmark to identify whether an influence is effective or not, really made me reflect about the interventions I perceive to be the most effective and how I make these determinations. Do I take the time to reflect on how much of an impact my influences will have on student learning? Will some influences have a greater impact on student learning than others? I believe these are essential questions that need to be asked and discussed amongst school leaders, teachers, and students in order to ensure that the strategies and interventions are high in impact. In the opening chapter of his book, Hattie asks, “What is the nature of the learning that you wish to impact?” He encourages educators to be evaluators of their impact and to constantly recognize not only how student learning is being impacted but also how much. Moreover, he stressed the importance of this evaluation of impact occurring as a school community that involves teachers, school leaders, and students. When key stakeholders can be transparent and make their thinking and learning visible, then the evidence of student learning and the effect of impact can be discussed, understood and acted upon.


Hattie, J. (2012). Visible learning for teachers: Maximizing impact on learning. (pp. 1-269).  New York: Routledge.