Latest PISA results published on collaborative problem-solving

Nov 2017
Students who performed well in the tests showed initiative, good communication skills and logic.

The Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) have released data from its first-ever global group problem-solving assessment.

The principal PISA 2015 study benchmarked the academic attainment of 15-year-olds across 72 countries and cities in the core subjects of science, reading and maths, though in the first study of its kind, PISA 2015 additionally examined students' ability to work in groups to solve problems.

This addition aimed to identify if students have the collaborative skills essential for the 21st century.

The results show that collaborative problem-solving performance is positively related to performance in the core PISA subjects. The results also show, among other findings, that girls perform significantly better than boys in every country.

Students who performed well in the tests showed initiative, resilience, good communication skills, logic and a sense of personal responsibility within a team.

The top performing nations, Singapore, Japan and Hong Kong have students well equipped for the challenges and opportunities of the future; however, in today's competitive global community, young people everywhere need to be equipped with the skills to allow them to face future obstacles and succeed in the workplace - being able to work both independently and in a team, is key!

Education can promote co-operation

Education seems to influence how well students work together. Under this umbrella term, falls the classroom environment, activities and teachers as well as parental support and interest in their child's studies.

Students scored much higher in the group problem-solving assessment when their parents showed an interest in their school activities, likewise if they had a positive relationship with their teacher. Communication-lead activities like debates were also found to foster students' positive attitude towards co-operation with peers.

Strong academic skills do not automatically lead to a child also having strong life and social skills of course, and these may need development too. However, having self confidence in the foundations of their own knowledge and abilities, alongside an openness to collaborate and co-operate, will ensure that our students go on to be able to contribute to many areas of an exciting future.