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Masters in Educational Practice: Special educational needs and inclusion learning pack


Impact of the environment


A consideration of whether the environment makes a difference to achievement

When we consider the impact of the environment, be it physical, social, emotional, or home, it is important to consider whether these elements make a difference (d) to achievement.

Hattie (2009) has synthesized over 800 meta-analyses relating to what influences achievement in children and young people in school. These meta-analyses encompass over 52,000 studies from a global viewpoint. These meta-analyses are considered in an influential book called Visible Learning.

Meta-analyses are statistically analysed to give four possible effects in what is called a ‘barometer of influence’:

  • Reverse effects
    • d < 0
    • effects that decrease achievement.
  • Developmental effects
    • 0 < d < 0.15
    • what students would have achieved if there was no schooling and maturation alone can account for much of the enhancement of learning.
  • Teacher effects
    • 0.15 < d < 0.40
    • influences in this zone are similar to what teachers can accomplish in a typical year of schooling.
  • 'Zone of desired effects'
    • 0.40 < d < 1.2
    • labeled as such as these are the influences that have the greatest impact on student achievement outcomes.
Figure 2.8.1 - Barometer of influence (Hattie, 2009)
Figure 2.8.1 - Barometer of influence (Hattie, 2009)

It is relevant to explain the meaning of the title of the book , 'Visible Learning'.

Hattie notes that: teaching and learning are visible in the classrooms of  successful teachers and students. ’Teaching and learning are visible in the passion displayed by the teacher and learner when successful teaching and learning occurs’ ( Hattie, 2009, p. 25).

Meta-analyses have been grouped into 6 domains: Student, Teaching, Teacher, School, Curricula, and Home. The meta-analyses referred to here will be linked to the discussions in this impact of the environment topic only. Please refer to Hattie (2009) for further information.

Rank Domain Influence d
The meta-analyses by rank order from Hattie (2009)
6 School Classroom behavioural 0.80
8 Teacher Comprehensive interventions for
learning disabled students
11 Teacher Teacher-student relationships 0.72
31 Home Home environment 0.57
32 Home Socioeconomic status 0.57
38 Student Pre-term birth weight 0.54
39 School Classroom cohesion 0.53
41 School Peer influences 0.53
42 School Classroom management 0.52
45 Home Parental involvement 0.51
50 School School effects 0.48
51 Student Motivation 0.48
59 School School size 0.43
60 Student Self-concept 0.43
80 School Decreasing disruptive behaviour 0.34
89 Home Home visiting 0.29
113 Home Family structure 0.17

Activity 2.8.1

This activity encourages reflection on the meta-analyses outlined above. Consider the information in the table above. As noted earlier, the ‘zone of desired effects’ is d > 0.4 (d is greater than 0.4). Which influences surprise you? Which influences do not surprise you?

Activity 2.8.2

Complete the Checklist for ‘visible learning inside' [.pdf] (external link) (Appendix A, Hattie, 2012). Discuss with a senior colleague before completion, discuss with colleagues during completion, and discuss with a senior colleague after completion. What impact can this checklist have on your teaching?

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