CAS Tracking

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

In his ground-breaking book Visible Learning John Hattie compiled evidence from 30 years of research which showed that metacognition and teacher-pupil diaglogue are the critical accelerators of pupil learning.

This conclusion was backed up by the research of the UK government's research arm, the Education Endowment Foundation. Their national guidance Teaching and Learning Toolkit scores teacher feedback and metacognition as the highest ranking interventions.

Watch this animation to see how the unique technology and signposts of CAS Tracking improve both teacher-pupil feedback and metacognition.

"CAS Tracking, takes the ground-breaking science and technology which we developed to improve pastoral care through AS Tracking, into the classroom."

Designed with the challenges of 21st Century employability in mind, CAS Tracking develops pupils’ self-ownership of their development as a learner. The result is pupils who have an ability to learn effectively across curriculum, context and challenge.

How does CAS Tracking 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.

If you have poor steering, then no matter how powerful your mind’s engine, you may drive in the wrong direction, too fast or slow, and miss information you need. Steering enables us to collect information about the world, ourselves and other people. 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.

"The aim of in-class steering signposts is to develop pupil agency and self-efficacy, to improve pupils’ metacognition and resourcefulness."

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

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

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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