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Koreans Found to be Top in Problem-Solving
December 20, 2004
Korean students were top in problem-solving literacy among 40 countries, breaking a traditional image that they focus on memorizing and lack reasoning capabilities, a major international survey released on December 7 showed.
In the Program for International Student Assessment conducted by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) for over 15-year-olds, Korea had the best score in the problem-solving test, followed by Hong Kong-China and Finland.
"Some thought Korea has ranked highly in international tests due to its cramming and memorizing education. (But the fact that Korean students are superior in problem-solving) gives an opportunity to reflect a positive side of our education," the Korea Institute of Curriculum and Evaluation said in a news release.
The study, which measures how students nearing the end of their secondary school education are prepared to meet the challenges they are likely to face in real life, was conducted in 2003 among 41 countries and more than 250,000 students, with each country accounting from 4,500 to 10,000.
In the second triennial study, Finland once again came out on top in learning skills, with high performances in mathematics and science matching those of top-ranking Asian school systems in Hong Kong-China, Japan and Korea.
Korea posted high performances in other areas such as reading, math and science, ranking No. 2, No.3, No.4, respectively. The superior results suggest Korea does "well in terms of 'value for money' in their education systems," the second three-yearly report said.
"Overall, wealthier countries tend to do better in educational terms than poor nations, but there are exceptions: Korea's national income, for example, is 30 per cent below the OECD average but its students are among the best performers in OECD countries," it said.