Mediocre problem-solving by U.S. teens

Posted by on April 14, 2014

Mediocre problem-solving by U.S. teens

American 15-year-olds are barely above the average of 44 countries and economies in problem-solving skills, and far behind teens in Asia, reports Joy Resmovits for The Huffington Post. U.S. teens on average earned a score of 508 on the Programme for International Student Assessment Creative Problem Solving test, between top-ranked Singapore’s 562 and bottom-ranked Colombia’s 399. The PISA results put U.S. students in the middle of the pack, hardly reflecting the American workforce’s reputation for creativity. The Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development administered the computer-based problem-solving test for the first time in 2012 in response to a job market that increasingly demands what the group called “non-routine analytic” and “non-routine personal tasks.” American students fared particularly well on “interactive” questions that “require students to uncover useful information by exploring the problem situation and gathering feedback on the effect of their actions,” according to test results. This indicates that U.S. students can “tolerate doubt and uncertainty, and dare to use intuitions to initiate a solution.” The United States performed higher than 28 countries, with results close to Austria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, France, Germany, the United Kingdom, and Italy. Singapore, Korea, and Japan came out on top, followed by China, Finland, Canada, and Australia. Colombia and Bulgaria were lowest.

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