Research in Science Education

, Volume 47, Issue 1, pp 49–66 | Cite as

Bringing CASE in from the Cold: the Teaching and Learning of Thinking

  • Mary OliverEmail author
  • Grady Venville


Thinking Science is a 2-year program of professional development for teachers and thinking lessons for students in junior high school science classes. This paper presents research on the effects of Thinking Science on students’ levels of cognition in Australia. The research is timely, with a general capability focused on critical thinking in the newly implemented F-10 curriculum in Australia. The design of the research was a quasi-experiment with pre- and post-intervention cognitive tests conducted with participating students (n = 655) from nine cohorts in seven high schools. Findings showed significant cognitive gains compared with an age-matched control group over the length of the program. Noteworthy is a correlation between baseline cognitive score and school Index of Community Socio-Educational Advantage (ICSEA). We argue that the teaching of thinking be brought into the mainstream arena of educational discourse and that the principles from evidence-based programs such as Thinking Science be universally adopted.


Thinking skills Metacognition Cognitive conflict Pedagogy 



This research was supported by a grant from the Australian Research Council (DP1093877). The ideas presented in the paper are those of the authors and not the funding institution. We acknowledge the late Professor Philip Adey whose wisdom and encouragement over the years of this research was invaluable.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of EducationThe University of NottinghamNottinghamUK
  2. 2.Graduate School of EducationUniversity of Western AustraliaCrawleyAustralia

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