22 Nov 2017

Girls outclass boys as NZ ranks top 10 for collaboration

1:22 pm on 22 November 2017

New Zealand 15-year-olds are among the best in the world at group work, but the country's girls are a lot better than its boys, an OECD study says.

teenagers generic, teen generic, students generic

Photo: 123RF

The report from the three-yearly PISA tests placed New Zealand in the top ten nations for collaborative problem-solving.

Singapore had the highest average score with 561 points, followed by Japan, Hong Kong and Korea. New Zealand's average was 533, placing it alongside Macao, Finland and Australia.

Internationally, girls scored an average of 28 points more than boys, but in New Zealand the difference was 40 points. Only Finland, Sweden and Australia had a bigger gender gap.

PISA collaborative working tests

PISA collaborative working tests Photo: OECD

The report said good collaborative problem-solving was linked to high scores in reading and science, but New Zealand children did better than expected given their performance in those subjects.

The test assessed the way students worked with a computer-simulated team to solve problems.

New Zealand had one of the highest proportions of high-achievers on the measure at about 15 percent, but about 20 percent of its students were low-achievers.

The study said girls were more likely to report that they valued relationships, while boys were more likely to value teamwork.

It found that students tended to do better in the test if they did more days per week of moderate physical activity.

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