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Education Lab Blog

Education Lab is a project to spark meaningful conversations about education solutions in the Pacific Northwest.

Topic: PISA

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April 1, 2014 at 5:00 AM

Who aces problem-solving exam? U.S. above average, but Asia rules

When it comes to success in life, it’s not just what students know, but what they can do with what they know.

To gauge that ability, a problem-solving section was part of the 2012 international tests known as PISA, or Programme for International Student Assessment.

The section, given to about 85,000 15-year-olds worldwide, “goes well beyond whether students can reproduce what they were taught,” said Pablo Zoido of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), which manages the PISA exams.

To do well, the OECD says, students must be “open to novelty, tolerate doubt and uncertainty, and dare to use intuition to initiate a solution.”

And that’s where U.S. students shine, at least in part.


Comments | More in News | Topics: Asia, PISA, problem solving

December 5, 2013 at 6:00 AM

Curious about the much discussed PISA exam? Try the test for yourself

Sample problem from PISA website

Sample question from PISA website

In case you missed it, Tuesday was PISA Day.

With a lot of fanfare, officials released the 2012 scores for perhaps the most closely watched international test, the Programme for International Student Assessment  — PISA for short.

For the U.S., the news was that our scores didn’t change much from 2009, the last time the test was given, though we dropped some in the rankings.

Whether that’s a clarion call for change depends on your point of view. Opinions varied, with U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and the reform organization Achieve lamenting the results, while others found them worthless or at least worth a more nuanced look. See author and testing critic Diane Ravitch, and these folks in Education Week and Slate.


Comments | More in News | Topics: PISA, standardized tests