Academic journal article Phi Delta Kappan

Girls Lead in Solving Problems with Others

Academic journal article Phi Delta Kappan

Girls Lead in Solving Problems with Others

Article excerpt

Girls are much better than boys at working together to solve problems, according to an international assessment of collaborative problem solving.

About 125,000 15-year-olds in 52 countries and economies took part in the assessment, which analyzes for the first time how well students work together as a group, their attitudes toward collaboration, and the influence of factors such as gender, after-school activities, and social background. The work is part of the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), which is managed by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

Among the findings:

* Students with stronger reading or math skills tend to be better at collaborative problem solving because managing and interpreting information, and the ability to reason, are required to solve problems.

* Girls do better than boys in every country and economy that participated in the assessment, by the equivalent of a half year of schooling on average. Across OECD countries, girls are 1.6 times more likely than boys to be top performers in collaborative problem solving, while boys are 1. …

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