, Volume 57, Issue 1-2, pp 219-221,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 02 May 2011

John Hattie: Visible learning: A synthesis of over 800 meta-analyses relating to achievement

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This book by John Hattie – Professor of Education at the University of Auckland – is the culmination of more than a decade of research during which he and his team have set out to summarise and synthesise the empirical research on the effects of various educational influences and interventions on student achievement. Probably due to the huge scope of this project – comprising 800 meta-analyses, more than 50,000 smaller studies and more than 80 million pupils – this study has been widely acclaimed. According to a review in the Times Educational Supplement, Hattie’s work “reveals teaching’s Holy Grail”.

Hattie starts from the observation that in education “everything seems to work”, as educational interventions of almost any kind seem to have a positive effect on student achievement. He then proposes to move beyond “everything goes”, towards the development of a barometer of “what works best”. To this end he applies the tools of meta-analysis to a huge body of empirical research and calcu