Wednesday, June 17, 2009

What is the nature of evidence that makes a difference to learning? By: John Hattie

We must be more mindful of the “interpretations” we wish to make from any data collected as it is the “interpretations” that are critical, rather than data itself.

There is still philosophy that assumes teachers know how and what data to collect to best enhance learning. We are losing the minds and hearts of the students (particularly during early adolescence, when disengagement is already a “cool” attribute) and we are also losing the voters as their belief about the quality of schooling declines.

One form of accountability assumes that if only we could name, shame, and blame with evidence we could get those teachers operating at higher levels of efficiency. Another form of accountability assumes if only we could collect sufficient system-wide evidence, we could convince the parents not to be critics.

We need models of school/teachers/student accountability located at the system and school level that maximizes the probability of enhancing learning and outcomes. We must develop an accountability system that is located from the student level upwards, directly involving and influencing the teacher and principal level, as such a system is more likely to have major effects on the quality of teaching and learning.

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