Top 5 Research-Proven Instructional Strategies

According to research done by the Marzano Institute, these are the top 5 ways to increase student learning. They are listed in order of effect size; in other words, the first strategy listed is proven to have the highest effect on student learning.

1. Have Students Identify Similarities and Differences

  • Ask students to compare and classify information
  • Ask students to create a metaphor
  • Ask students to create an analogy
  • Ask students to create a graphic representation

2. Have Students Summarize and Take Notes

  • Ask students to leave out unnecessary information and keep important information
  • Ask students to rewrite information in their own words

3. Reinforce Student Effort and Provide Recognition

  • Use symbolic recognition (not tangible rewards) to reward student performance

4. Practice/Homework

  • Always state the purpose
  • If practice is assigned, it should be commented on later

5. Non-linguistic Representations

  • Ask students to participate in a kinesthetic activity based on the lesson
  • Ask students to create a model
  • Ask students to create a drawing


Marzano, R., & Pickering, D. (2001). Classroom instruction that works: Research-based strategies for increasing student achievement. Alexandria, Va.: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.


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