Korean students rank No.1 in problem solving in OECD

By Yoon Min-sik
  • Published : Apr 1, 2014 - 20:55
  • Updated : Apr 1, 2014 - 20:55
Korean students finished with the top score in computer-based problem solving among all OECD countries, the Education Ministry said Tuesday.

According to the ministry, Korean students garnered an average of 561 points on the problem solving section of the 2012 Program for International Student Assessment. Their score, a point behind Singapore, was the second-highest overall and the highest of all OECD countries.

As the average scores are based on a limited number of examples and had a large margin of error, PISA 2012 presented upper and lower bound estimates of each countries. PISA put Korea’s ranking between first and second place, the same as Singapore.

The next OECD country on the list was Japan with a score of 552, good for third overall.

PISA is a worldwide OECD study that evaluates the scholastic abilities of 15-year-old students, and was first performed in 2000. In 2003, it introduced a problem solving sector to assess how well each student coped with problems that required skills from least two fields of study.

Out of 65 countries and 510,000 students that participated in the PISA 2012, 44 countries took part in the problem-solving test.

The data showed that the disparity within schools in Korea was less than the OECD average, indicating even academic abilities between students.

It also showed that male students finished 13 points higher than their female counterparts, and that rate of high-performing male students ― level five or higher ― was 7.1 percent higher than females, which is similar to the OECD average.

PISA categorized students in six levels in accordance to their performances. It focused particularly on mathematics, and the mean score was 494, according to the general results announced in December,

Korea finished high in the study, ranked between third and fifth place in both math and reading, while ranking between fifth and eight in science.

By Yoon Min-sik (