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Visible Learning for Mathematics, Grades K-12

  • Title:Visible Learning for Mathematics, Grades K-12: What Works Best to Optimize Student Learning
  • Author:John Hattie, Douglas Fisher, Nancy Frey, Linda Gojak, Sara Delano Moore, William Mellman
  • Publication Date:October 2016
  • Grade Level:K-12
  • ISBN:9781506362946
  • Publisher:Corwin Press

Rich tasks, collaborative work, number talks, problem-based learning, direct instruction…with so many possible approaches, how do we know which ones work the best? In Visible Learning for Math, six acclaimed educators assert it’s not about which one—it’s about when—and show you how to design high-impact instruction so all students demonstrate more than a year’s worth of mathematics learning for a year spent in school.

That’s a high bar, but with the amazing K-12 framework here, you choose the right approach at the right time, depending upon where learners are within three phases of learning: surface, deep, and transfer. This results in “visible” learning because the  effect is tangible. The framework is forged out of current research in mathematics combined with John Hattie’s synthesis of more than 15 years of education research involving 300 million students.

Chapter by chapter, and equipped with video clips, planning tools, rubrics, and templates, you get the inside track on which instructional strategies to use at each phase of the learning cycle:

  • Surface learning phase: When—through carefully constructed experiences—students explore new concepts and make connections to procedural skills and vocabulary that give shape to developing conceptual understandings.
  • Deep learning phase: When—through the solving of rich high-cognitive tasks and rigorous discussion—students make connections among conceptual ideas, form mathematical generalizations, and apply and practice procedural skills with fluency.
  • Transfer phase: When students can independently think through more complex mathematics, and can plan, investigate, and elaborate as they apply what they know to new mathematical situations.

To equip students for higher-level mathematics learning, we have to be clear about where students are, where they need to go, and what it looks like when they get there. Visible Learning for Math brings about powerful, precision teaching for K-12 through intentionally designed guided, collaborative, and independent learning.

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Author Bio

Douglas Fisher is professor of language and literacy education in the Department of Teacher Education at San Diego State University and a classroom teacher at Health Sciences High & Middle College. He is the recipient of an International Reading Association Celebrate Literacy Award, the Farmer Award for excellence in writing from the National Council of Teachers of English, as well as a Christa McAuliffe Award for excellence in teacher education. He has published numerous articles on reading and literacy, differentiated instruction, and curriculum design, as well as books, such as Creating Literacy-rich Schools for Adolescents (with Gay Ivey), Checking for Understanding (with Nancy Frey), Better Learning Through Structured Teaching (with Nancy Frey) and Content-area Conversations (with Carol Rothenberg), Text Complexity (2/e) (with Nancy Frey) and Text-Dependent Questions, Grades 6-12 and Grades K-5 (with Nancy Frey, Heather Anderson, Marisol Thayre).

Nancy Frey, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of Literacy in the School of Teacher Education at San Diego State University. She is a recipient of the Christa McAuliffe award for excellence in teacher education from the American Association of State Colleges and Universities. She has co-authored several books on literacy such as Teaching Visual Literacy and Checking for Understanding (with Douglas Fisher), Text Complexity (2/e) (with Doug Fisher) and Text-Dependent Questions, Grades 6-12 and Grades K-5 (with Dou Fisher, Heather Anderson, Marisol Thayre).


She was a co-recipient (with Doug Fisher) of NCTE’s 2004 Kate and Paul Farmer award for outstanding writing for their article, “Using Graphic Novels, Anime, and The Internet In an Urban High School,” published in The English Journal. She teaches a variety of courses in elementary and secondary literacy in content area instruction and supporting students with diverse learning needs.

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