CAS Tracking accelerates learning by teaching children to steer in the classroom

CAS Tracking is a breakthrough teaching tool which equips students to identify and overcome their cognitive biases and become more effective learners. Unconscious cognitive biases are an increasing risk to students’ academic success as well as influencing their unconscious responses to sources of information on the internet. Using CAS Tracking teachers can develop student metacognition and self-efficacy to overcome these risks.

When is it used?

CAS Tracking is used by teachers in the classroom from the age of 12- 18. CAS Tracking data provides a visible picture of the hidden, unconscious biases which are developing in the thinking of his students. By using this feedback, students can become aware of their own biases and develop strategies to reduce them. CAS Tracking can be used by teachers across the curriculum subject areas to improve subject-specific learning.

How does it work?

CAS Tracking improves pupils' ability to steer. Think of the mind as a car with steering as well as an engine. The engine of our mind is what we use to store and use information as we drive through the world; that information may be about people, things or ideas. Our mind’s engine is roughly what we measure through an IQ test. The steering of our mind adjusts where we focus our attention, how fast or slow we travel and how much effort we put into our thinking. If you have good steering, then your mind will be able to collect the information you need at the right time.

The most effective learners adjust their steering as they engage in different learning tasks, just like a good driver adjusts how they drive depending on the road surface, conditions and terrain over which they travel.

Schools can improve pupils' steering using CLASSROOM STEERING SIGNPOSTS. CAS provides teachers with in-class ‘steering signposts’. Using these seven pairs of steering signposts teachers can signpost and improve their pupils' ability to steer.

The role of the teacher is to signpost the classroom road so that pupils can know when and which steering bias to adopt for the specific learning task in hand. There is no single, fixed, optimal set of signposts for any curriculum lesson. By signposting the learning task in hand, pupils can become aware of, and then learn to develop and choose, the optimal steering behaviour for themselves.

Core features

Pioneering steering assessment

Measurable assessment data showing the cognitive steering of the school, class & individual pupils

Targeted steering signposts

Targeted class signposts to improve cognitive steering in individuals and whole classes

Class tracking system

Tracking system to measure improvements in pupil learning attributable to improved steering

Pastoral-classroom data integration

Technology to integrate your pastoral & classroom targets and action planning

Who can use it?

CAS Tracking is currently used by schools involved in STEER’s development programme. Feedback from the programme will be used to inform the roll out of the programme to the wider educational community.

Does CAS Tracking work?

Using CAS Tracking signposts to improve pupil learning has been shown to develop more effective, independent, resourceful learners.

This outcome was evidenced in a small pilot study with Y10 students in a London academy in 2013. Students were coached by teachers in Maths, Science and English. Students who improved their CAS steering when subsequently retested, showd improved predicted grades when compared to students who had not improved their CAS steering.

This finding was reinforced by a larger study of 150 first year Business students at the University of Winchesterin 2015. Students provided peer coaching to each other, using their CAS Tracking feedback to guide their conversations. They selected individual CAS targets to which would improve their learning. Students whose steering improved, when retested by CAS Tracking 5 months later, were shown to have improved module results when compared to students whose steering had not improved.

STEER is currently running further studies with CAS user schools. These will help guide best-practice for teachers using CAS signposts in the classroom.

What research has been done to underpin the science of CAS steering?

Our studies have consistently show that students who can steer are more effective learners than those who steer less effectively.

Led by Dr Simon Walker, STEER has been researching CAS Tracking since 2012. Steering cognition has been consistently shown to contribute up to 15% of academic outcomes over and above the influence of general intelligence.

In a series of small to large investigations across 25 UK secondary schools between 2012-15, Dr Walker's results showed that steering cognition consistently contributed a unique component of around 15% to academic outcomes over and above algorithmic cognitive ability, as measured by standardised IQ tests.

In these studies, steering cognition enabled a student’s attention to be steered and regulated optimally for the demands of different curriculum tasks. Walker contrasted steering cognition with algorithmic cognition, showing that steering cognition can be trained and improved in students (Walker 2014) and is directly affected by the quality of the teaching environment that a school provides. Unlike a student's CAT score, these studies suggested that steering cognition can be improved by signposting students'steering through peer or teacher-coaching approach.

Details of these research studies, including downloadable papers can be found at our RESEARCH PAGES

If you would like to know more about the science behind CAS & steering cognition visit our Research page or

Wikipedia- steering cognition page - research web site

Dr Simon Walker - primary researcher's web site