Rigor (High-Yield Teaching Strategies) Print or save as PDF

How is it defined?

High-yield teaching strategies refer to teaching practices that have positive effects on student learning. These strategies, largely based on research findings summarized by Hattie (2009), include practices associated with setting visible and challenging goals, the pacing and structure of classroom lessons, quality feedback, and meta-cognitive strategies. The Learning Bar’s framework on the drivers of student outcomes includes measures of quality instruction, school context, classroom context and family context.  The domain of quality instruction in OurSCHOOL is inspired by and consistent with the model of instruction set out by Anderson (2004) and includes measures of effective learning time, relevance and high-yield teaching strategies.

Why is it important?

  • Hattie’s (2009) summary of teaching practices identified several factors that led to higher student performance. The four factors with the strongest effects were as follows:
    • Clarity. Teachers communicate the goals of the lesson and show clearly what success looks like. Goals that are specific, challenging, competitive, self-referential and focused on self-improvement help facilitate student achievement (Martin, 2006).
    • Reciprocal teaching. Teachers demonstrate how to use cognitive strategies such as summarizing, questioning, clarifying, and predicting. These strategies are supported through classroom discussions. Veenman, Prins and Elshout (2002) found that when students are dealing with complex tasks, it is their meta-cognitive skills, rather than intellectual ability, that are the primary determinant of learning outcomes.
    • Feedback. Teachers create a learning environment in which students are comfortable giving feedback to teachers about what they do not know or understand. Feedback has a powerful influence on enhancing achievement, particularly when it is clearly stated, has purpose and meaning, and builds upon and provides logical connections to a student’s prior knowledge (Hattie & Timperley, 2007).
    • Meta-cognitive strategies. Teachers help students “think about thinking”. For example, they explicitly teach students how to plan, approach a learning task, monitor their comprehension, and evaluate progress.

How do we measure it?

In the OurSCHOOL elementary and secondary school surveys, students respond to Likert questions regarding teachers’ use of high-yield teaching strategies that reflect instruction that is well-organized, with a clear purpose, and with immediate and appropriate feedback that helps students learn. On the secondary school questionnaire, students are asked questions about the strategies used in their Language Arts, Math, and Science classes. The data is scaled on a 10-point scale, and reported as “the average score for high-yield teaching strategies”.


Anderson, L. W. (2004). Increasing teacher effectiveness (2nd ed). Paris: UNESCO International Institute for Educational Planning.

Hattie, J., & Timperley, H. (2007). The power of feedback. Review of Educational Research, 77(1), 81-112.

Hattie, J. (2009). Visible learning: A synthesis of over 800 meta-analyses relating to achievement. New York: Routledge.

Martin, A. J. (2006). Personal bests (PBs): A proposed multidimensional model and empirical analysis. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 76(4), 803-825.

Veenman, M. V. J., Prins, F. J., & Elshout, J. J. (2002). Initial inductive learning in a complex computer simulated environment: The role of metacognitive skills and intellectual ability. Computers in Human Behavior, 18(3), 327-341.