CoRT Tools

CoRT Tools

Within the Trust some schools have selected a variety of CoRT tools to help direct thinking, support creative thinking and/or structure evaluative thinking.

CoRT stands for Cognitive Research Trust and the tools suggested form an integral role in helping learners to further explore and challenge their viewpoints and understandings.

We have observed first-hand how the easily accessible framework helps learners become more open minded and broader thinkers. Learners of all ages have benefited from the tools enabling them to work more productively in groups or individually and are making more informed decisions inside and outside of the classroom.


Using a PMI (Plus, Minus, Interesting) which is a CoRT 1 tool, challenges learners to evaluate different ideas or sections of content, which might be part of self or peer assessment. Instead of identifying positives and negatives, learners look for interesting aspects too which allows for those factors which cannot be so easily categorised to have a place within the evaluation process. The easy to remember acronym means that the PMI can be used by students with little prompting and the suitably generic nature of this particular CoRT tool means that it can be transferred into many different subjects and year groups.

Using the ‘Random Input’, which is a CoRT 4 tool, supports learners to unlock more creative thinking through the addition of an unrelated idea to stimulate further ideas. For example, when designing the packaging for a new product, many learners will seek inspiration from previous successful packaging and this can often mean similar ideas being reproduced. By using the Random Input tool learners are challenged to think about the attributes of a random object e.g. an apple and then link that to the packaging. This can often lead to different ideas forming and is particularly useful when learners feel they have met a block in their learning.