PISA

ISSN :
1996-3777 (online)
ISSN :
1990-8539 (print)
DOI :
10.1787/19963777
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A series of reports on the OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment’s (PISA) periodic testing program on student performance. The reports generally compare student (15 year olds) academic performance across countries, or discuss the methodology used to gather the data.

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PISA 2012 Results: Creative Problem Solving (Volume V)

PISA 2012 Results: Creative Problem Solving (Volume V)

Students' Skills in Tackling Real-Life Problems You do not have access to this content

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Author(s):
OECD
Publication Date :
01 Apr 2014
Pages :
252
ISBN :
9789264208070 (PDF) ; 9789264208063 (print)
DOI :
10.1787/9789264208070-en

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This fifth volume of PISA 2012 results presents an assessment of student performance in problem solving, which measures students’ capacity to respond to non-routine situations in order to achieve their potential as constructive and reflective citizens. It provides the rationale for assessing problem-solving skills and describes  performance within and across countries and economies. In addition, the volume highlights the relative strengths and weaknesses of each school system and examines how they are related to individual student characteristics, such as gender, immigrant background and socio-economic status. The volume also explores the role of education in fostering problem-solving skills.

 

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    Foreword
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    Acknowledgements

    This report is the product of a collaborative effort between the countries participating in PISA, the experts and institutions working within the framework of the PISA Consortium, and the OECD Secretariat. The report was drafted by Andreas Schleicher, Francesco Avvisati, Francesca Borgonovi, Miyako Ikeda, Hiromichi Katayama, Flore-Anne Messy, Chiara Monticone, Guillermo Montt, Sophie Vayssettes and Pablo Zoido of the OECD Directorate for Education and Skills and the Directorate for Financial Affairs, with statistical support from Simone Bloem and Giannina Rech and editorial oversight by Marilyn Achiron. Additional analytical and editorial support was provided by Adele Atkinson, Jonas Bertling, Marika Boiron, Célia Braga-Schich, Tracey Burns, Michael Davidson, Cassandra Davis, Elizabeth Del Bourgo, John A. Dossey, Joachim Funke, Samuel Greiff, Tue Halgreen, Ben Jensen, Eckhard Klieme, André Laboul, Henry Levin, Barry McCrae, Juliette Mendelovits, Tadakazu Miki, Christian Monseur, Simon Normandeau, Lorena Ortega, Mathilde Overduin, Elodie Pools, Dara Ramalingam, William H. Schmidt (whose work was supported by the Thomas J. Alexander fellowship programme), Kaye Stacey, Lazar Stankov, Ross Turner, Elisabeth Villoutreix and Allan Wigfield. The system-level data collection was conducted by the OECD NESLI (INES Network for the Collection and Adjudication of System-Level Descriptive Information on Educational Structures, Policies and Practices) team: Bonifacio Agapin, Estelle Herbaut and Jean Yip. Volume II also draws on the analytic work undertaken by Jaap Scheerens and Douglas Willms in the context of PISA 2000. Administrative support was provided by Claire Chetcuti, Juliet Evans, Jennah Huxley and Diana Tramontano.

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    Executive summary

    In modern societies, all of life is problem solving. Changes in society, the environment, and in technology mean that the content of applicable knowledge evolves rapidly. Adapting, learning, daring to try out new things and always being ready to learn from mistakes are among the keys to resilience and success in an unpredictable world.

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    Reader's guide
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    What is PISA?

    "What is important for citizens to know and be able to do?" That is the question that underlies the triennial survey of 15-year-old students around the world known as the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). PISA assesses the extent to which students near the end of compulsory education have acquired key knowledge and skills that are essential for full participation in modern societies. The assessment, which focuses on mathematics, reading, science and problem solving, does not just ascertain whether students can reproduce knowledge; it also examines how well students can extrapolate from what they have learned and apply that knowledge in unfamiliar settings, both in and outside of school. This approach reflects the fact that modern economies reward individuals not for what they know, but for what they can do with what they know.

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    Assessing problem-solving skills in PISA 2012

    This chapter introduces the PISA 2012 assessment of problem solving. It provides the rationale for assessing problem-solving competence in PISA, and introduces the innovative features of the 2012 assessment. The framework for the assessment is presented, and sample items are discussed.

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    Student performance in problem solving

    This chapter examines student performance in problem solving. It introduces the problem-solving performance scale and proficiency levels, describes performance within and across countries and economies, and reports mean performance levels. It also discusses the relationship between problemsolving performance and performance in mathematics, reading and science.

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    Students' strengths and weaknesses in problem solving

    This chapter provides a nuanced look at student performance in problem solving by focusing on students’ strengths and weaknesses in performing certain types of tasks. The items in the PISA problem-solving assessment are categorised by the nature of the problem (interactive or static items) and by the main cognitive processes involved in solving the problem (exploring and understanding; representing and formulating; planning and executing; monitoring and reflecting). The analysis in this chapter identifies the tasks and skills that students master better than students in other countries do, after taking into account overall differences in performance.

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    How problem-solving performance varies within countries

    This chapter looks at differences in problem-solving performance related to education tracks within countries and to students’ gender, socioeconomic status and immigrant background. It also examines students’ behaviours and attitudes related to problem solving, and their familiarity with information and communication technology. In addition, the chapter identifies particular groups of students who perform better in problem solving than expected, given their performance in mathematics, reading and science.

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    Implications of the problem

    In order to succeed in life, students must be able to apply the problemsolving strategies that they learn at school beyond the curricular contexts in which they are usually cast. This chapter discusses the implications of the PISA problem-solving assessment for education policy and practice.

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      PISA 2012 technical background
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      PISA 2012 data
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      The development and implementation of PISA
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      Germany

      Germany’s performance in problem solving is above the OECD average. However, German students perform below students in Australia, Canada, Finland and most East Asian countries and economies that participated in the assessment.

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      Japan

      Students in Japan perform close to their expected level on interactive tasks, based on the OECD average pattern of performance, and above their expected level on knowledge-acquisition tasks, which require high levels of reasoning skills and self-directed learning, after accounting for their overall performance.

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      Singapore

      Singapore students are better at problem-solving tasks that require exploring and understanding, representing and formulating, and monitoring and reflecting than tasks that require planning and executing. That said, this is in the context of Singapore students being still among the highest-performing in planning and executing.

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      Spain

      "We ought to leave behind the brick economy and focus on the knowledge economy." So said Angel Gurría, Secretary-General of the OECD, speaking recently at the Global Forum Spain in Bilbao and highlighting one of the key challenges facing Europe, particularly Spain. PISA’s first assessment of creative problem-solving skills shows how well-prepared students are to confront – and solve – the kinds of problems that are encountered almost daily in 21st century life.

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      United Kingdom

      Across OECD countries, there has been a marked increase in recent decades in the share of jobs that require creative problem-solving skills. Fifteen-year-olds who, today, lack these skills thus face a high risk of economic disadvantage as adults. They will compete for jobs that are becoming rare; and if they are unable to adapt to new circumstances and learn in unfamiliar contexts, they may find it particularly difficult to move to better jobs as economic and technological conditions evolve. PISA’s first assessment of creative problem-solving skills shows how well-prepared students are to confront – and solve – the kinds of problems that are encountered almost daily in 21st century life.

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      United States

      In recent decades, there has been a marked increase in the share of jobs that require creative problem-solving skills. Fifteen-year-olds who lack these skills today thus face a high risk of economic disadvantage as adults. They will compete for jobs that are becoming rare; and if they are unable to adapt to new circumstances and learn in unfamiliar contexts, they may find it particularly difficult to move to better jobs as economic and technological conditions evolve. PISA’s first assessment of creative problem-solving skills shows how well-prepared students are to confront – and solve – the kinds of problems that are encountered almost daily in 21st century life.

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