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Thinking skills
This page contains the findings of systematic reviews undertaken by review groups linked to the EPPI-Centre

Assessment
Impact on students
Impact on teachers

Assessment

Click here for a knowledge page on the use of ICT in the assessment of creative and critical thinking skills.

Impact on students

  • There is evidence of a positive impact on pupils' attainment in both curriculum and non-curriculum measures.[1],[2] Non-curriculum measures reported on are reasoning and problem-solving [1] and cognitive measures such as Raven's Progressive Matrices [2].
  • There is some evidence that pupils can apply or translate this learning to other contexts.[1]
  • Where there is either no or little immediate impact on curriculum measures, such improvement may appear later or increase over time.[1]
  • There is some evidence that thinking skills programmes may vary according to subject.  One review found relatively greater impact on tests of mathematics and science, compared with reading.[2]
  • The impact of thinking skills approaches may not be even across all groups of pupils. There is some evidence that there may be greater impact on low-attaining pupils, particularly when using metacognitive strategies.[1]
  • There is some evidence that pupils benefit from explicit training in the use of thinking skills strategies and approaches.[1]
  • Some of the benefits of thinking skills programmes and approaches derive from making thinking and reasoning explicit through a pedagogical emphasis on classroom talk and interaction.[1]
  • The role of the teacher is important in thinking skills programmes and approaches in establishing collaborative group work, effective patterns of talk and in eliciting pupils' responses.[1]
     

Impact on teachers

The following key areas were found to be significant:[3]

  • Changes in pedagogical practice, including: teacher questioning; grouping of pupils; changes in planning and assessment
  • Changes in attitudes towards pupils, including: perception of pupil ability; facilitation of greater pupil responsibility and autonomy; access to pupil learning
  • Implications for professional development, including: practical tools being necessary; collaborative CPD (continuing professional development) being preferable; and partnership with researchers as co-inquirers and critical friends being beneficial.

References

1. Thinking skills approaches to effective teaching and learning: what is the evidence for impact on learners? (2004)

2. A meta-analysis of the impact of the implementation of thinking skills approaches on pupils (2005)

3. The impact of the implementation of thinking skills programmes and approaches on teachers (2005)

  
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