Results of a global academic achievement survey for 2012 showed Japan ranked third out of 44 countries in creative problem-solving, according to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Japan earned an average of 552 points in the triennial Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), which tests students’ ability to solve non-routine problems.
Students from Singapore took the top spot, followed by South Korea. The test, which is computer-based, analyzes the aptitude of students aged 15 years old to solve complex problems, which lack an obvious solution. Around 6,300 students from 181 high schools in Japan participated in the survey. The test involved 20 questions based on real-life situations, which go beyond academic knowledge in solving. Questions ranged from buying a specific ticket from a vending machine, to looking for regularity in the movement of a robotic cleaner.
Gender difference were taken note of in the OECD study, as boys outperformed girls with 561 points to 542 points in Japan. While totally unrelated to problem-solving ability, the PISA test showed Japanese students to be impatient in answering self-evaluation surveys. The Education Ministry believes problem-solving to be “an extremely important ability in a complex and rapidly changing modern society.” It also noted that, “It seems that small-class education methods, such as proficiency-dependent teaching, bore fruit.”
[via Jiji Press]