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.



Empirical study of computer-based assessment of domain-general complex problem-solving skills

Centre for Educational Research and Innovation

This study reviews the results of a recent project on problem solving. Taking a developmental and structural perspective, it contrasts static, paper-and-pencil tests with interactive, technology-based tests of thinking skills, with a special reference to reasoning skills including knowledge acquisition, knowledge application, and transfer of knowledge. Hungarian students aged 11 to 17 completed problem-solving tests in static scenarios (assessing domain-specific problem-solving skills from maths and science) and in interactive scenarios (assessing domain-general complex problem-solving skills). The students were also assessed for inductive reasoning and fluid intelligence, both by first generation tests. This chapter uses the results to elicit evidence for the development of dynamic problem solving and for the relationship between those 21st-century skills. Finally, it discusses the possibility of using traditional static tests to predict performance in third generation tests measuring dynamic problem solving.


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