PISA scores reveal attainment gap in collaborative problem solving

Written by Tom Freeman on 22 November 2017 in News

Scotland performs well in first international assessment of collaborative working among 15 year-olds

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The attainment gap between Scotland’s richest and poorest pupils in collaborative problem solving is the equivalent of nearly two and a half years of learning, according to a international rankings body.

The figures are the first time the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) has evaluated collaborative problem solving in this way.

It analysed survey data of 15 year-old pupils from across the developed world.


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The report published yesterday show mixed results for Scotland.

Scotland's pupils perform better at collaborative problem solving than 19 countries and the average, according to the results, but still lag behind England.

Furthermore, there was a 74-point difference between those from the most and least deprived areas of Scotland.

"If, as the OECD surmises with maths, reading and science, a year’s schooling is equivalent to about 30 points, that would imply a difference of nearly two and half years’ education," the report said.

However, it also said Scottish pupils were "more likely to break away from the pattern of background affecting performance".

In response to the report, Education Secretary John Swinney said the high scores showed the benefit of Curriculum for Excellence's "comprehensive and rounded" approach.

“Curriculum for Excellence has been OECD endorsed and I am confident that it is the right approach for Scotland," he said.

"But we know where improvements are necessary and we are currently undertaking the biggest and boldest set of reforms to Scottish education in recent times."

The study also showed girls are consistently better at working co-operatively than boys.

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