Finnish 15-year-olds ranked seventh in an inaugural collaborative problem-solving test conducted as part of the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in 2015.
The OECD published the results of the tests on 21 November.
Sanni Grahn-Laasonen (NCP), the Minister of Education, interprets the results of the assessment as evidence of the solid collaboration and problem-solving skills of young people in Finland.
“This reaffirms that we have good fundamental conditions, basic knowledge and also basic skills to cope with the transformation of work, where the ability to collaborate and create new things in networks and teams is highlighted,” she states in a press release from the Ministry of Education and Culture.
Grahn-Laasonen also admits that the performance of boys in the collaborative problem-solving tests is cause for concern.
The OECD highlights in its report that girls significantly outperformed in collaborative problem-solving in each of the countries that participated in the inaugural test. Finland, however, was one of the countries with the greatest variation in problem-solving performance by gender alongside Australia, Latvia, New Zealand and Sweden.
Finland had a gender gap of 48 points compared to the average of 29.
“The results related to educational equity are all positive apart from the ever wider gap in skills between boys and girls, which is concerning. The tasks in collaborative problem solving stress reading skills, and tasks performed in a chat-based platform undoubtedly also have a bearing on the results. But literacy does not fully explain the gender gap. There is clearly more to it,” says Mari-Pauliina Vainikainen, a research coordinator at the University of Helsinki.
“We must continue to systematically explore the boys’ situation more thoroughly and identify effective ways of improvement,” she adds.
Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Photo: Antti Aimo-Koivisto – Lehtikuva