Global problem solvers are in high demand. Just google Re-Imagine Education and check out the wealth of conferences and events focused on what learning matters to ensure individuals have the skills to think like entrepreneurs and collaborate with people from all backgrounds.

What lessons can researchers learn from the 15 year-old girls who outperformed boys in collaborative problem solving in every country around the world, according to the new study by the OECD? In C.M. Rubin’s interview with Andreas Schleicher, Director for the Directorate of Education and Skills at the OECD, he notes, “Girls show more positive attitudes towards relationships, meaning that they tend to be more interested in others’ opinions and want others to succeed.”

Talented teenage students working together on school project with help of modern laptop while gathered together outdoors

Schleicher also notes that “strong academic skills will not automatically also lead to strong social skills. Part of the answer lies in giving students more ownership over the time, place, path, pace, and interactions of their learning. Another part of the answer can lie in fostering more positive relationships at school and designing learning environments that benefit students’ collaborative problem-solving skills and their attitudes towards collaboration.”

Andreas Schleicher is Director for Education and Skills, and Special Advisor on Education Policy to the Secretary-General at the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in Paris. The first ever assessment of collaborative problem solving skills aims to help countries and economies see where their students stand in relation to their peers in other education systems. Students in 52 countries completed this test in addition to the main OECD PISA 2015 Survey on Science, Mathematics and Reading.

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