Experimental Research 1


Results of the use of CoRT Thinking Lessons.

In the first example 10 lessons had been done and in the second example only one lesson had been done.


Tape recorded discussions by eight separate groups of elementary school students. Of these eight groups four had done ten CoRT Thinking Lessons and the other four had not done any.

The order of the groups was determined by tossing a coin.

Problem: A student wants to study to be a teacher. The student’s parents have to live in another country for five years due to work. Should the student accompany them or stay with relatives or friends until the course is completed? (The school has many students whose parents work for the military; therefore the problem is relevant to them.)

Details ;





Essay by two classes of 32 students each at high school.

One of the classes had the first CoRT Thinking Lesson (on the treatment of ideas) and the other class had not.

Subject for consideration: “Do you think there should be special weekend prisons for minor offenders?”


Details ;

Class A                Class B

Total number of argument put forward       200                    105

Arguments for                                          81                      47

Arguments against                                  119                      56

Average number of arguments per person      6.2                     3.3

Total number of different arguments           67                      36

Arguments for                                         31                       17

Arguments against                                  36                       19

Arguments against a student’s declared verdict as a percentage of arguments for that verdict* 58.7% 20.5%

(*In Class A students put 80 arguments in support of their verdict and 47 against. In Class B, 28 students put 70 arguments in support of their verdict and 16 arguments against)


Since 1978 John Edwards and Richard Baldauf, from the School of Education at James Cook University in Townsville, Queensland, Australia have conducted a series of research studies to look closely at the effect of CoRT in school settings.

Edwards and Baldauf (1983) report the introduction of CoRT 1 into four grade ten (approximately 15 year olds) school classrooms. In a pre-post-test analysis of performance of both familiar and unfamiliar essay topics, the students showed statistically significant improvement.

More interesting, a statistically significant relationship was found between CoRT gain scores and performance at the end of the year school exams, even when the results were controlled for the effect of IQ.

Edwards and Baldauf (1986) looked in greater detail at the effects of CoRT 1 on grade seven (approximately 12 year old students). They report strong anecdotal evidence from parents and students supporting the value of CoRT 1. The data also reveals statistically significant improvements in IQ, creativity (flexibility and originality) and self concept as a learner.

In a very comprehensive study comparing 120 grade seven students studying CoRT 1 with a control group of 80 students, again a range of effects was shown (Edwards and Baldauf, 1987).

The treatment students when compared with a control group showed statistically significant improvement in IQ, as measured by the "Otis-Lennon School Ability Test, intermediate form R,” overall academic achievement as measured by normal classroom tests with particular improvement in the language arts areas, originality as measured by the Torrance Test of Creative Thinking.

The results also revealed large positive shifts in thinking approaches, flexibility of thinking and fluency. An interesting aspect of this study was the use of the Myers-Briggs type indicator to investigate the effect of, and on, student personality.

The treatment studies showed relative shifts toward the more extroverted, more intuitive, and more judging (that is, more decisive and planned); of these only the shift towards extroversion was statistically significant.

The use of Ryans' classroom observation record enables the effect of teaching CoRT 1 on the characteristics of teachers to he investigated.

Results shoved marked improvement in the performance of some teachers - particularly in the areas of the more broad than narrow, more stimulating than dull, more original than stereotyped, and more adaptable than inflexible. These improvements were maintained after CoRT teaching had finished.

All the above effects were obtained after only seven and a half hours of teaching CoRT thinking by untrained teachers.

References: Edwards J., and Baldauf R.B. Jr., "Teaching Thinking in Secondary School' in W. Maxwell (Ed) title Thinking: The Expanding Frontier. Philadelphia, Franklin Institute Press, 1983 pages 199-138.

Edwards J., and Baldauf R.B. Jr., "The Effects of CoRT 1. Thinking Skills Program on Students" in Bishop 1., Lockhead J and Perkins D. N. eds., Thinking Progress in Research and Teaching. Hillsdale, N. J. Erlbaum, 1986.

Edwards J., and Baldauf R.B. Jr., “A Detailed Analysis of CoRT 1 in Classroom Practice”. Paper presented to the Third International Conference on Thinking, at the University of Hawaii, January 1987.




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