Impact & Benefits

Report on the Evaluation of the Impact of the Thinking School

A report carried out by Thinking Schools International and the University of Exeter evaluating the impact of the Thinking School Approach, produced by Martin Bell, September 2012.

1. Purposes of the evaluation project

The evaluation project was jointly funded by the University of Exeter and Thinking Schools International. The purposes of the project were to:

  • Report on the impact of the Thinking School approach as defined by Professor Burden and outlined on the TSI website
  • To consider the benefits and weaknesses of the approach and to recommend further exploration of ways forward to make improvements
  • To consider the effectiveness of the various thinking and learning strategies
  • To gather feedback and make recommendations regarding the evaluation and measurement of the impact of cognitive education
  • To specifically look at the use and the impact of MALS (Myself as a Learner Scale) on Thinking Schools

Summary of Key Findings

  • 100% of primary and 87.5% of secondary accredited schools are satisfied with the Thinking School approach: none are dissatisfied.
  • 90% of all accredited schools reported an improvement in the quality of lessons: none have seen lesson quality adversely affected.
  • 89% state that the Thinking School approach raises attainment: 3.5% state that it does not raise attainment.
  • 96% used lesson observations as one of the factors when making their judgement on attainment.
  • All five major Thinking School International programmes are reported to be highly effective.
  • 82% of accredited schools would welcome more support with their evaluation methods.
  • Benefits greatly outweigh issues:
    • Common major benefits include the whole school approach, independence and learner ownership, lesson quality
    • There are some sustainability issues for some, for example the training of new staff.


Click here to read the report