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PISA in Focus

PISA in Focus is a series of monthly education policy-oriented notes designed to describe a PISA topic in a concise, user-friendly way.

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Are 15-Year-Olds Creative Problem-solvers?

  • To do well on PISA’s first assessment of creative problem-solving skills, students need to be open to novelty, tolerate doubt and uncertainty, and dare to use intuition to initiate a solution.
  • Just because a student performs well in core school subjects doesn’t mean he or she is proficient in problem solving. In Australia, Brazil, Italy, Japan, Korea, Macao China, Serbia, England (United Kingdom) and the United States, students perform significantly better in problem solving, on average, than students in other countries who show similar performance in reading, mathematics and science.
  • Many of the best performers in problem solving are Asian countries and economies, where students demonstrate high levels of reasoning skills and self-directed learning. Meanwhile, compared to students of similar overall performance, students in Brazil, Ireland, Korea and the United States perform strongest on interactive problems that require students to uncover useful information by exploring the problem situation and gather feedback on the effect of their actions.

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