‘Making Learning Visible in Alaska’ by Sam Jordan at ACSA

For the past two years, four Alaskan school districts involved in a federal Teacher and School Leader (TSL) grant have been working to implement Visible Learning strategies. Visible Learning refers to a body of education research led by Dr. John Hattie that reflects data on what truly works to elevate student learning. The core message of Visible Learning is that teachers are at their best when they are reflecting on the impact of their instructional practices. This is perhaps most effectively summarized in Dr. Hattie’s often-quoted statement, “Know Thy Impact!”

The Alaska Gateway, Nenana City, Yukon-Koyukuk and Northwest Arctic Borough School Districts have engaged their staff in ongoing professional learning opportunities across the past two school years, learning, implementing and then reflecting on Visible Learning High Impact Teaching Strategies (HITS) like teacher clarity on learning intentions, collaborative learning around learning tasks and providing clear performance feedback to students.

“I’ve really enjoyed learning more about Visible Learning” shares teacher Alicia Lovelace at Alaska Gateway School District. “I feel that it is valuable to know more about student learning and how to better serve student needs. Visible learning has multiple aspects that are applicable in the classroom. Learning about success criteria and teacher clarity have greatly improved my teaching and student’s understanding of concepts.”

Visible Learning Trainer Dave Nagel supporting staff at the Alaska Gateway School District

Key to creating Visible Learning environments in classrooms is the degree of awareness both teachers and students have about the learning process. To that end, implementation with fidelity is key. Teachers in each of the four partner districts have worked on implementation using reflective practices like Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) and annual surveys to create continuous cycles of growth and reflection.

Mike Petersen, Professional Learning Advisor with Corwin Press reflects with a Nenana City Public Schools student about his learning style.

This Visible Learning professional development is supported by a 3-year grant from the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Elementary & Secondary Education, Teacher and School Leader (TSL) Incentive Program granted to the Alaska Council of School Administrators (ACSA) and the four school district partners. Corwin Publishing serves as the Visible Learning professional development partner.