Did the U.K. and Australia do well in the PISA collaborative problem solving test?

Filling the pail

Last week saw the release of the Programme for International Students Assessment (PISA) collaborative problem solving results. This was accompanied by headlines suggesting that Australia and the U.K. had performed particularly well in these assessments.

I’m not sure about this.

In PISA 2015 science, Australia was ranked 14th. On the recent problem-solving test it was ranked tenth. This seems like an improvement. However, you have to take into account the number of countries that participated. In the science tests, 72 countries took part whereas only 51 took part in the collaborative problem solving test. The Australian performance of coming tenth out of 51 is roughly equivalent of coming 14th out of 72. So it’s pretty much the same. Similarly, the U.K. came 15th out of 51 in collaborative problem solving which is the equivalent of coming 21st out of 72; a worse performance than in PISA 2015 science…

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