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Pisa: UK does better than expected in collaborative problem-solving – rankings at a glance

British teenagers perform better at working in groups to solve problems than they do in reading and maths, global rankings suggest

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British teenagers perform better at working in groups to solve problems than they do in reading and maths, global rankings suggest

Singapore has topped the league table for how well teenagers work together in groups to solve problems – and the UK did better than expected, the Programme for International Student Assessment (Pisa) revealed today. 

It is another top place for Singapore, which also came first in the 2015 Pisa international rankings in reading, maths and science when they were published last year. 

The results of Pisa's collaborative problem-solving tests show that the UK came 15th – or, once sample sizes were taken into account, between 12th and 16th place. The UK's average test score of 519 is not statistically different from Germany, the USA, Denmark or the Netherlands.

Researchers at the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, which runs Pisa, found that there was a strong link between how well 15-year-olds did at collaborative problem-solving and how well children did in the core Pisa subjects.

Problem-solving? No problem...

This meant the UK performed better than expected in collaborative problem-solving, given that it came 27th in maths, 22nd in reading and 15th in science.

In the UK, around 12 per cent of students performed at a top level of proficiency – meaning they could successfully carry out complicated problem-solving tasks, which required them to resolve disagreements and conflicts – compared with around 8 per cent across OECD countries on average.

The full table is shown below:

Pisa: Snapshot of performance in collaborative problem-solving

 

Country All students (mean score) OECD average-32 500 1.  Singapore 561 2.  Japan 552 3.  Hong Kong 541 4.  South Korea 538 5.  Canada 535 6.  Estonia 535 7.  Finland 534 8.  Macao (China) 534 9.  New Zealand 533 10. Australia 531 11. Taiwan 527 12. Germany 525 13. United States 520 14. Denmark 520 15. United Kingdom 519 16. Netherlands 518 17. Sweden 510 18. Austria 509 19. Norway 502 20. Slovenia 502 21. Belgium 501 22. Iceland 499 23. Czech Republic 499 24. Portugal 498 25. Spain 496 26. Beijing-Shanghai -Jiangsu-Guangdong 496 27. France 494 28. Luxembourg 491 29. Latvia 485 30. Italy 478 31. Russia 473 32. Croatia 473 33. Hungary 472 34. Israel 469 35. Lithuania 467 36. Slovak Republic 463 37. Greece 459 38. Chile 457 39.Cyprus 444 40. Bulgaria 444 41. Uruguay 443 42. Costa Rica 441 43. Thailand 436 44. United Arab Emirates 435 45.Mexico 433 46. Colombia 429 47. Turkey 422 48. Peru 418 49. Montenegro 416 50. Brazil 412 51. Tunisia 382

Source: Pisa 2015 Results (Vol V): collaborative problem solving. Figure V.1.1

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