Dimension: evidence-based, high impact teaching strategies

​This dimension is part of the Excellence in Teaching and Learning priority.


  • Evidence-based education is an approach where the methods used are based on significant and reliable evidence.
  • It aims to apply the best available evidence, gained from scientific methods, to educational decision making.
  • While every school is at a different stage of development and operates within a unique context and with a diverse student cohort and staff profile, there is a substantive evidence base about the common teaching practices that have the greatest impact on student outcomes.
  • A number of pedagogical strategies have been found to have a high impact on student learning.
  • A potential problem with trying to reduce effective teaching to individual strategies is that the whole may be greater than the sum of its parts.
  • It is important that teachers use these strategies as a way to improve learning but also consider how they can be used in combination with each other.
  • Professional learning is crucial to sustain authenticity, quality and consistency of practice.

Essential Elements

A number of elements are essential to enable effective work within the Framework for Improving Student Outcomes. Eight Essential Elements form the foundation upon which improvement is built. The Essential Elements for Evidence-based high-impact teaching strategies are:

Essential Element 1: Documented curriculum plan, assessment and shared pedagogical approaches.

Essential Element 6: Moderation of common student assessment tasks.

Essential Element 8: Explicit use of evidence-based school improvement strategies and teacher professional practice activities.

The Essential Elements are evident at the Evolving stage of each Continuum (below) and are further articulated in the Embedding and Excelling stages in some dimensions.


The Continuum for Evidence-based high-impact teaching strategies  describes a range of proficiency levels (Emerging, Evolving, Embedding and Excelling) that assists principals and teachers to identify areas of practice that require attention in order to deliver improved student outcomes.

Component: The school has high expectations for learning progress


Teachers recognise that students of the same age will be at different points in their learning and may progress at different rates. The leadership team supports raised consciousness of how teaching practice impacts the learning of individual students.


Teachers know that every learner is capable of making progress and clearly communicate this to all students. Teachers set challenging tasks and encourage students to engage with them. Teaching is designed to scaffold student learning accordingly. 


Teachers have a collective belief that strong learning growth for all students is enabled by evidence-based pedagogical practice. Teachers enhance students’ self-efficacy and self-esteem as learners by tailoring challenges to meet the learning stage and readiness of each student. 


The school has a clear focus on excellence in teaching with high expectations that students can meet appropriate challenges. All teachers expect that every student will make at least 12 month’s growth in a school year, regardless of their starting point. Teachers engage students in learning and develop students’ self-regulation, enhanced self-efficacy and self-esteem as learners.

Component: The school develops teacher knowledge of high-impact strategies


Professional learning addresses teacher knowledge of evidence-based high-impact strategies.


The school provides opportunities for teachers to observe and discuss best practice teaching. There is a shared language to describe agreed high-impact strategies. Teachers select and trial agreed new strategies in their own classrooms. Teachers identify high-impact strategies as a focus for learning and development in Performance and Development Plans.


Teachers have opportunities to observe skilled colleagues, trial and review new strategies, receive feedback and focused coaching to support changes to their practice. Teachers continue to expand and refine a repertoire of high-impact strategies that are integrated into their daily practice, and these are shared with colleagues. Building knowledge and skills in the use of agreed high-impact strategies is referenced in teacher Performance and Development Plans.


Teachers demonstrate and apply current pedagogical knowledge which develops high-order thinking and metacognition to extend all learners. Teachers have a deep understanding of their teaching and the effect it has on student learning. The school has internal capacity to update understanding and practice of high-impact strategies and identifies and seeks external expertise when required.

Component: The school implements consistent and sustained high-impact teaching strategies


Teachers understand the rationale for consistent, high-quality teaching strategies across the school. Teachers are encouraged to use the FISO Improvement Cycle to improve practice and drive whole-school improvement. Working collaboratively in Professional Learning Communities, teachers begin to investigate alternative teaching models, pedagogical strategies and experiment with new practices.


Teachers can identify their own pedagogy. They share challenges, reflect on practice and share self-assessment and feedback with some trusted colleagues. Teachers are committed to improving their practice and actively seek feedback and support from each other. Professional Learning Communities support individuals in making incremental changes to their practice. Teachers challenge and support each other in building and refining skills so there is less variation in quality and greater consistency, ensuring improved learning outcomes for all students.


The school has a clear instructional model that is based on research relating to high-impact teaching strategies. All teachers follow the model which informs the work of Professional Learning Communities. The leadership team allocates time and resources to support teachers in implementing consistent strategies at all levels. Teachers demonstrate the confidence and skills to talk about quality teaching. They question their impact through analysing various data, are open to having their teaching reviewed, and are welcoming and responsive to thoughtful and constructive feedback.


In Professional Learning Communities, teachers engage in challenging and supportive conversations that stretch their learning and build professional resilience and confidence. The leadership team builds a culture that supports improving the quality of teaching across the school and maintains an inquiry cycle. Individuals and teams are open to critically evaluating their practice in a culture of trust and with a strong sense of collective efficacy – a belief that teachers are jointly responsible for ensuring the success of all students.

Component: The school monitors and evaluates its practice


Teachers rely on summative assessment data to evaluate student progress and identify gaps in student learning. Teachers plan to address some student misunderstandings and persistent challenges. The leadership team challenges and supports teachers to reflect on and evaluate the impact of their teaching on student learning.


Supported by the leadership team, teachers use formative and summative assessment to evaluate the impact they are having on student outcomes and to self-assess the effectiveness of their teaching. Teachers respond to formative and summative assessment by trialling some high-impact teaching strategies.


Teachers use student data to tailor their teaching and preference appropriate high-impact teaching strategies. They work through the FISO Improvement Cycle to evaluate the effectiveness of teaching informed by student learning growth and student feedback. The leadership team works through the FISO Improvement Cycle to evaluate the effectiveness of high-impact teaching strategies on school improvement. 


Teachers use multiple sources of data to compare growth rates and evaluate the effectiveness of different teaching strategies. The FISO Improvement Cycle is used to ensure early intervention, scaffolding and extension is accurately targeted and delivered. School leaders work with teachers to evaluate the effectiveness of high-impact teaching strategies to refine curriculum, pedagogy and programs, and plan for further improvement.

Printable resources

Continuum A3 print out (pdf - 228.34kb)

High Impact Teaching Strategies

10 High Impact Teaching Strategies (HITS) have been brought together to provide a clear link between the ‘Evidence Based High Impact Teaching Strategies’ dimension of FISO and classroom practice. The HITS are 10 instructional practices that reliably increase student learning wherever they are applied. Learn more about High Impact Teaching Strategies.

Case studies

To see examples of how schools in Victoria are implementing the FISO dimension: Evidence-based high impact teaching strategies see: Evidence-based high impact teaching strategies case studies.

Evidence base

To view the Evidence Base for the FISO dimension: Evidence-based high impact teaching strategies see: Evidence - Evidence-based high impact teaching strategies (docx - 647.33kb).


Why should my school engage with this dimension?

It is important that teachers use these evidence based strategies as a way to improve learning, but also consider how they can be used in combination with each other.

To what extent is this dimension being implemented in my school?

 Consider whether well-defined, achievable, measurable and student-centred learning goals are in place at your school.

What can my school focus on?

Research identifies the following as high-impact teaching strategies:

  • Setting goals
  • Structuring lessons
  • Explicit teaching
  • Worked examples
  • Collaborative learning
  • Multiple exposures
  • Questioning
  • Feedback
  • Metacognitive strategies
  • Differentiated teaching
What does successful implementation look like?
  • The school has a consistent approach to the implementation of the selected high-impact strategies
  • Teachers work in multi-dimensional teams
  • A program of structured, needs-based professional learning including peer observation and moderation is developed and implemented, ensuring teachers are supported/trained in the strategies.
  • Adequate resourcing is provided to enable consistent collaborative professional learning for teachers through reflective practice discussions.
What strategies and actions can my school implement?
  • Access the literature and existing knowledge to develop a deeper understanding of current evidence-based knowledge concerning high impact, evidence-based teaching practices.
  • Integrate one or more evidence-based teaching strategies into a teaching plan so as to accomplish learning goals.
  • Implement one or more evidence-based teaching strategies for students in a learning experience
  • Use student assessment data and other evidence to evaluate the impact of the strategies

More information

For more information, see: Excellence in Teaching and Learning priority