Landmark study reveals number one factor impacting student learning

Landmark study reveals number one factor impacting student learning

The most thorough research to date on classroom best practice has revealed the number one factor that impacts student learning is engaging teaching.

The study reveals that factors like homework, small class sizes and a long school day do not have a big influence on students’ learning outcomes.

The research, conducted by Emeritus Laureate Professor John Hattie from Melbourne University’s Graduate School of Education, scoured 2,100 meta-analyses over 40 years, drawing from more than 130,000 studies and involving more than 400 million students worldwide. 

The culmination of this extensive research suggests the main influencing factors on student achievement are teacher mind frames and whether the students are given a clear purpose and can understand their learning journey. 

Professor Hattie said schools must look beyond “hints and tips that will give schools easy hacks to good grades” and instead look at “changing the culture of education so that teachers are excited about teaching, and students are excited and engaged in learning”.

“Every child can learn, can grow, and can be taught to love learning. The most important thing a teacher can do is to have high expectations for all students and to see differences as opportunities to learn in different ways, and to teach students to welcome the challenge to aim high," he said. 

Professor Hattie’s March 2023 release of ‘Visible Learning: The Sequel - A Synthesis of Over 2,100 Meta-Analyses Relating to Achievement’, acknowledges the Covid-19 pandemic as having had a huge impact on the mental health of children and teachers, amplifying the connection between social and emotional wellbeing and learning. 

Hattie suggests equipping teachers with emotional and problem-based coping strategies that they can pass on to their students.  

“We do that by creating classrooms full of trust, where mistakes are seen as opportunities to learn, and the teachers are constantly assessing their own impact," Professor Hattie said.

“We want students to trust their teachers and know what they are learning, why they are learning, and knowing their progress in their learning.”