Singapore Students Get Top Marks in Problem-Solving Test

Singapore’s 15-year-olds are making a name for themselves. In a test conducted as part of the Program for international assessment (PISA), conducted in 2012, students from Singapore have come out on top. Singapore is closely followed by South Korea, after which a considerable gap opens up to the next country which is Japan.

As for the sub-categories, the students from Singapore have also performed exceptionally well in literary reading, science and mathematics, something that is also evaluated as part of the test. Therefore, it made Singapore part of a select group, which excelled at all categories put under the microscope.

The results for this category were published last year in December, while the results for the problem solving section were published by the Organization of economic cooperation and development (OECD) – which conducts the test every three years – a few days ago.

Singapore has been previously criticized for promoting rote learning as opposed to encouraging creative skills. The study results recently published, though, have proved the detractors wrong.

A sentiment that has been shared in messages by the education minister HengSwee, who believes that Singaporean students, contrary to popular opinion, are thinkers and daring to imagine. What has been most impressive about this evaluation is the near similar performance of all students despite the different schools they go to.

The problem solving test aimed at the improvisational skills of students. Most questions included basic real life scenarios or problems that could be resolved with a bit of problem solving skill. For example a question simply asked the students to arrange an mp3 playlist in a way that a song could be reached with minimum clicks. The PISA test is considered as the most genuine assessment of education systems around the world.