High Impact Practices

In working within the teacher development goals, instructional coaches are choosing to focus on five of the high impact practices as researched and defined by John Hattie’s Visible Learning (2009).  Hattie has assessed over 15 years of educational studies of grade-level students and created a “ranking of those influences which are related to learning outcomes from very positive effects to very negative effects on student achievement.  Using the information provided by Hattie of over 138 studies and their influence on student performance the statistics were used to guide decisions regarding the five high impact practices to be assessed district-wide.  These practices were considered to be within a teacher’s “circle of control” that have been evident to increase student performance that were also measurable and observable with little bias.

High Impact Teaching Practices

Student Engagement

General instructional practices that promote student engagement, such as: reciprocal teaching, strategy training, cooperative learning, concept mapping, questioning, and scaffolding.

Teacher Clarity

Clarity is the teacher’s ability to communicate the intentions of the lesson and the notion of what success means for these intentions (i.e. learning targets: posted and stated at start of lesson, revisited during the lesson, reviewed at the end of the lesson).

Clarity in teacher directions is defined as organization, explanation, and use of examples.


Feedback is information provided by an agent about aspects of one’s performance or understanding.  Feedback is reciprocal in that it is given by BOTH teacher to student AND student to teacher.

Teacher to student feedback: the most effective forms of feedback provide cues or reinforcement to the learner or relate feedback to learning goals; to be effective, feedback needs to be clear, purposeful, meaningful, compatible with students’ prior knowledge, and provide logical connections.

Student to teacher feedback: teachers seek feedback from students as to what students know, what they understand, where they make errors, when they have misconceptions, and when they are engaged. One way of gathering this type of feedback is through formative assessment: any activity used as an assessment of learning progress before or during the learning process itself.

Classroom Climate

Behavioral climate is influenced by classroom management, decreasing disruptive behavior, and encouraging group cohesion and positive peer influences.

Classroom behavior is defined by Hattie as any behavior taking place in a classroom that either supports or interferes with the capability and capacity of students to learn the tasks and skills required to achieve success. Both are important but it is hard to achieve one without the other.

Research shows to have a positive classroom environment we need to focus on two things. Management and increasing positive behaviors. Management includes how you outline your rules, procedures and policies.  Good management will support increases in positive behaviors.

Teacher/Student Relationships

Building relationships with students implies efficacy, respect by teacher for what the child brings to class (from home, culture, peers), and allowing the experiences of the child to be recognized in the classroom.  Developing relationships requires the teacher to possess the skills of listening, empathy, caring, and to have positive regard for others.  The teacher should demonstrate that he/she cares for the learning of each student as a person

(Source: Visible Learning by John Hattie, 2009)

For more information on High Impact Practices and other teacher instructional development, contact the Instructional Coaches in the Curriculum/Instruction Department.