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Education, Research on Education

John Hattie admits that half of the Statistics in Visible Learning are wrong

Given Hattie’s influence in the education arena, particularly in policy making, he really should be far more careful to ensure his calculations and analysis is correct.  This is abysmal, really.

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At the researchED conference in September 2013, Professor Robert Coe, Professor of Education at Durham University, said that John Hattie’s book, ‘Visible Learning’,  is “riddled with errors”. But what are some of those errors?

The biggest mistake Hattie makes is with the CLE statistic that he uses throughout the book. In ‘Visible Learning, Hattie only uses two statistics, the ‘Effect Size’ and the CLE (neither of which Mathematicians use).

The CLE is meant to be a probability, yet Hattie has it at values between -49% and 219%. Now a probability can’t be negative or more than 100% as any Year 7 will tell you.

This was first spotted and pointed out to him by Arne Kare Topphol, an Associate Professor at the University of Volga and his class who sent Hattie an email.

In his first reply –  here , Hattie completely misses the point about probability being negative…

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One thought on “John Hattie admits that half of the Statistics in Visible Learning are wrong

  1. A classic response to those resistant to change is to attack the statistics. It would be more balanced if you at least addressed the noted that if the statistics quoted, were transformed to a more conventional measure (which, I acknowledge, would be better) the rank order would remain the same.

    The only question remaining for me would then be the level of materiality between each level of ranking.

    Either way, the research remains useful to schools.

    Going a little further, I encourage schools, when in doubt about the clustering of research topics, to look, wherever possible, at the original research paper and evaluate it for themselves.


    Posted by bsme1 | September 28, 2014, 5:48 pm

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