Girls ‘better at co-operating on problems’

When young people study or take exams the results are usually about rewarding their individual achievement.

But when they get into the workplace they will be told about the importance of social skills and the need to co-operate with other people on solving problems.

So are school systems out of step with what is needed by young people?

PISA, which compares students’ abilities in reading, maths and science, has now carried out the world’s first global tests on collaborative problem-solving skills.

As might have been expected, students who are high achievers in academic tests are also likely to be better at problem solving with other people.

They are likely to have the skills in interpreting information and complex reasoning that will help them with any kind of problem solving.

The same holds true across countries. Top-performing countries in academic tests, such as Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Estonia, Finland and Canada, are also high performers at collaborative problem solving.

But it’s not always the case. Chinese students, who do very well in maths and science, are only average in their collaborative skills.

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