B.C. students are great at finding solutions to problems. They are in line with the best students in the world, and tops in Canada.
The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s (OECD) Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) today released the results of their first international assessment of 15-year-old students’ computer-based problem solving skills.
Of the 44 international jurisdictions that participated, only Japan, Korea and Singapore performed statistically above B.C. On a straight numerical rank basis, B.C. scored seventh, in line with Taipei, Hong Kong and Shanghai. In Canada, B.C. had the highest average score and was the only province to perform statistically above the Canadian average.
The 40-minute assessment required students to think on their feet and demonstrate critical thinking skills to tackle real life problems. They also had to figure out how to use unfamiliar devices and assess why a specific error occurred in a system. The assessment is not tied to the curriculum of any province, participating country, or economy but is instead a fair measurement of students' abilities to use their learning skills to solve real-life situations.
Across the world, employers are increasingly looking for employees with strong competencies like critical thinking, creativity, problem solving, and the ability to collaborate with others. Future PISA studies will put greater focus on these types of competencies, including the upcoming 2015 study which will assess collaborative problem solving.
B.C. has started a process to transform its curriculum and graduation requirements to better support the development of these types of student competencies while maintaining a strong focus on the foundational skills of reading, writing and numeracy.
Minister of Education Peter Fassbender -
“More B.C. students are completing school than ever before and our students rank among the best in the world. That includes dramatic improvements for Aboriginal and special needs students.
“Our overriding goal is to foster capable young people who are ready to thrive in our rapidly changing world. This international study shows we’re on the right track, but there is still a lot of work ahead.
“Through our curriculum review, skills training, and transition to personalized learning, we must keep our system relevant to changing needs of students in the 21st century. Our ongoing work with B.C. educators will ensure our students remain well-positioned for success in all walks of life, including continued success in how they compare to their peers around the world.”
- The PISA assessment is one of the most comprehensive programs of its kind in the world. It is conducted every three years and released by the OECD.
- PISA is designed to provide policy-oriented international indicators of the skills and knowledge of 15-year-old students and shed light on a range of factors that contribute to successful students, schools, education systems and learning outcomes.
- In the PISA 2012 results released in December, on reading, science and mathematics - only one jurisdiction statistically performed above B.C.'s range in reading, only two jurisdictions in science and nine jurisdictions in mathematics.
- In 2012, a total of 510,000 students took part in the PISA study.
- In Canada, approximately 21,000 15-year-olds from 900 schools took part. This included 1,741 students from 74 B.C. schools.
- As well, the latest Progress in International Reading Literacy Study, demonstrated B.C.'s Grade 4 students were among the best readers in the world; B.C. was outperformed by only 4 of the 45 jurisdictions.
BC's Education Plan: www.bcedplan.ca
PISA 2012 Study: http://www.oecd.org/pisa/keyfindings/pisa-2012-results.htm
PIRLS 2011 Study: www.bced.gov.bc.ca/assessment/nat_int_pubspirls.htm
B.C. Ministry of Education December 2013 news release results on reading, science and mathematics from 2012 PISA study: http://www.newsroom.gov.bc.ca/2013/12/bc-students-among-best-internationally.html
Government Communications and Public Engagement
Ministry of Education