The cognitive acceleration method of teaching developed at King’s College London is used by more than 1,500 schools in the UK, and is also widely in primary and secondary schools across Europe, South Africa, the US, China and Australia.

Impacts

  • Studies showed that compared to control groups, pupils taught with Cognitive Acceleration through Science Education (CASE) not only scored about one grade better in their GCSE science, but their Maths and English GCSE grades were improved by about the same amount.
  • The Cognitive Acceleration through Maths Education (CAME), which provided teaching materials for primary and secondary school children, was shown to increase both the overall intellectual capacity of students and their school GCSE results even three years after the intervention.
  • More than 1,500 schools in the UK have used cognitive acceleration as an approach to the teaching of mathematics and science.
  • Since its establishment in 2008, Let's Think has delivered training in cognitive acceleration to over 2,000 maths, science and primary school teachers from more than 1,000 schools across 18 local authorities in the UK. Let's Think sold over 6,000 sets of learning materials to primary and secondary school teachers between 2008 and 2013.
  • Since it was established in 2009 over 300 schools are now using the Let's Think in English teaching programme – mainly in London and the South East, but also in Hampshire, Norfolk, Suffolk, Bristol, North Yorkshire, Stockport and Liverpool.
  • CASE, CAME and the other Let's Think interventions are now used in 10 pre-schools, 29 primary schools, and 20 secondary schools with a total of 25,000 pupils across Bafokeng, South Africa.
  • In Western Australia 30 schools are currently using CASE and CAME
  • Cognitive acceleration programmes have also been successfully used in the US, China, Ireland, Malawi, Finland and Pakistan.
  • In South Africa the research led to the establishment of the Royal Bafokeng Institute of Education and the Lebone II College as a centre providing professional development for teachers.

"Since I started teaching in the early 1990s the one constant I've had throughout my career has been CASE and now Let's Think. It's something I've always believed will make a difference to students and their futures, and I believe it also makes us better classroom teachers and practitioners."(Martina Lecky, Headteacher, Ruislip High School)

About the research

For the last 35 years researchers at King's College London have studied and championed the idea of cognitive acceleration as a method of teaching children. Originally developed by King's academics Professor Michael Shayer and Professor Philip Adey in 1981, the research is based on principles first proposed by psychologists Jean Piaget and Lev Vygotsky in the early twentieth century.

The cognitive acceleration approach to teaching is designed to develop students' thinking ability, rather than teaching them facts. It guides the pupils through stages of learning that gradually increase in complexity. The teacher gives the students a problem and guides them with probing questions that eventually lead to them discovering the answer for themselves.

The first teaching materials developed by the team in the 1990s were called Cognitive Acceleration through Science Education (CASE), and consisted of science lessons written for secondary school. The researchers then developed Cognitive Acceleration through Maths Education (CAME) also for secondary education, followed by both CASE and CAME material for primary school.

In addition, the King's College researchers developed the Let's Think pack aimed at six-year-olds helping them develop reasoning skills, followed by maths and science publications. The charity Let's Think was established to provide training and support for schools wishing to use cognitive acceleration in their lessons.