The Nature of Problem Solving

Using Research to Inspire 21st Century Learning

image of The Nature of Problem Solving

Solving non-routine problems is a key competence in a world full of changes, uncertainty and surprise where we strive to achieve so many ambitious goals. But the world is also full of solutions because of the extraordinary competences of humans who search for and find them. We must explore the world around us in a thoughtful way, acquire knowledge about unknown situations efficiently, and apply new and existing knowledge creatively.

The Nature of Problem Solving presents the background and the main ideas behind the development of the PISA 2012 assessment of problem solving, as well as results from research collaborations that originated within the group of experts who guided the development of this assessment. It illustrates the past, present and future of problem-solving research and how this research is helping educators prepare students to navigate an increasingly uncertain, volatile and ambiguous world.



Analytical problem solving: Potentials and manifestations

Centre for Educational Research and Innovation

Being able to solve problems is a crucially important outcome of almost all domains of education, as well as a requirement for future learning and acheivement. This chapter summarises the results from the cross-curricular analytical problem solving element of the 2003 Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). The results from Germany indicated that schools may not be sufficiently exploiting students’ cognitive potential to develop their subject-specific competencies. To investigate this hypothesis and find ways to make use of this potential, the chapter describes research on the cognitive components and the structure of analytical problem-solving competence and its relation to mathematical competence. It concludes with results from two experimental studies aiming to foster students’ mathematical competence by training in analytical problemsolving competence.


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