Education | Macau ranks eighth in global collaborative problem solving test

Macau students ranked eighth in group problem solving skills, according to the results of a Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) 2015 study that was published yesterday.

Among the 51 countries that took part, the region scored 534, while Singapore remained the leader with a mean score of 561 in the Collaborative Problem Solving (CPS) portion of PISA.

The triennial international benchmarking study disseminated results on its scientific, reading and mathematical literacy to the public in December last year. In these categories Macau ranked sixth, 12th and 3rd respectively.

This is the first CPS study conducted by PISA, which targets 15-year-olds in a comparative education perspective. PISA recently deemed the CPS one of the most pertinent skills in today’s era.

The goal of CPS assessment is to find out how competently students are able to collaborate and communicate with their peers to solve problems encountered in daily life.

More than 85 percent of local students had a CPS proficiency beyond the baseline level (=2).

The digital assessment is held through chat-based conversations with virtual agents in which the examinee communicates and cooperates with them in.

In a press conference held yesterday by the Education and Youth Affairs Bureau (DSEJ), the bureau said that the results are indicative of local students’ high CPS ability within a global perspective.

The PISA 2015 findings reveal that in all participating countries and regions, females outperform males in CPS ability.

In Macau, females outperform males statistically by 38 score points.

However, the city’s gender difference in CPS is relatively greater than most other regions.

Cheung Kwok Cheung, a professor from the Educational Testing and Assessment Research Center of the University of Macau, noted that the PISA 2015 is significant for the region’s education system as the results showed that the region’s system has produced an enhanced student-learning experience.

“PISA 2015 is important to Macau in terms of enhancing Macau’s education system because participants were born in 1999, after the handover. So they are nurtured under the education policy of the SAR government,” Cheung explained.

“The results tell the education sector that in the first 15 years [students] have a great performance in literacy and we hope we can continue to progress and nurture other talents,” he continued.

However, there is still a greater need to invest more efforts in improving the CPS abilities of local students.

Although CPS is not a skill taught in specific school subjects, it is generally integrated in student learning activities, or it is immersed in the workplace and living environment.

Hence, DSEJ Director Leong Lai expressed that it is of paramount importance in the region’s future education system to build up a platform for students to practice core skills of interpersonal relationships, rendering them opportunities to collaborate with teammates to solve problem

Leong said that the bureau needs to pay attention to student-teacher relationships and student-
parent relationships to better students’ team work skills.

“In enhancing these kinds of training for teachers, they need to have different teaching methods for students to enhance their ability in communication skills,” she noted.

Leong recalled that DSEJ has also published some parent-child reading books and teaching materials, urging parents to regularly communicate with their children in relation to their schoolwork.

The director also added that following the PISA 2015 results, DSEJ would further work on encouraging parents to assist their children to develop the skills needed in workplaces, such as complex problem solving and critical thinking.

Leong finally revealed that the bureau has plans to visit Singapore’s education department in early 2018 for experience-sharing.

Singapore ranked first among the four PISA 2015 fundamental literacies. The country also ranked first in PISA 2012.

Categories Macau