Annex B. Problem solving in technology-rich environments – Sample items

Box B B.1. Sample task in problem solving in technology-rich environments

An example of a problem-solving item is provided below. This item involves a scenario in which the respondent assumes the role of a job-seeker. Respondents access and evaluate information relating to job search in a simulated web environment. This environment includes tools and functionalities similar to those found in real-life applications. Users are able to:

  • Click on links on both the results page and associated web pages.

  • Navigate, using the back and forward arrows or the Home icon.

  • Bookmark web pages and view or change those bookmarks.


The first stimulus accessed by respondents is the results page of the search-engine application, which lists five employment agency websites. To complete the task successfully, respondents have to search through the pages of the listed websites to identify whether registration or the payment of a fee is required in order to gain further information about available jobs. Respondents can click on the links on the search page to be directed to the websites identified. For example, by clicking on the “Work Links” link, the respondent is directed to the home page of “Work Links”.


In order to discover whether access to the information on available jobs requires registration with the organisation or payment of a fee, the respondent must click the “Learn More” button which opens the following page. The respondent must then return to the search results page to continue evaluating the sites in terms of the specified criteria, using the back arrows without bookmarking the page (correct answer) or having bookmarked the page (incorrect answer).


Source: OECD (2013), Problem Solving in Technologyrich Environments,


OECD (2013), Problem Solving in Technology rich Environments,