Girls ‘better at co-operating on problems’

The BBC reports that when young people study or take exams the results are usually about rewarding their individual achievement. But when they get into the workplace they will be told about the importance of social skills and the need to co-operate with other people on solving problems.

So are school systems out of step with what is needed by young people?

PISA, which compares students’ abilities in reading, maths and science, has now carried out the world’s first global tests on collaborative problem-solving skills.

As might have been expected, students who are high achievers in academic tests are also likely to be better at problem solving with other people. They are likely to have the skills in interpreting information and complex reasoning that will help them with any kind of problem solving.

The same holds true across countries. Top-performing countries in academic tests, such as Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Estonia, Finland and Canada, are also high performers at collaborative problem solving.

Five years ago, PISA carried out tests on individual problem-solving skills.  These showed that boys tended to do better in most countries. 

But when the element of collaboration is added to the problem solving, girls outperformed boys in in every country. In the UK this gender gap is one of the largest.

Girls show more positive attitudes towards relationships, meaning that they tend to be more interested in others’ opinions and want others to succeed. Boys, on the other hand, are more likely to see the benefits of teamwork and how collaboration can help them work more effectively and efficiently.

Read the full article Girls ‘better at co-operating on problems’

Have you found this in your classroom? Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin

Are you a trainee teacher, NQT, teacher, headteacher, parent or  just someone who cares about education and has something to get off  your chest in a Schools Improvement Guest Post? Follow this link for more details at the bottom of the page.

Don’t forget you can sign up to receive our daily email bulletin (around 7am) with all the latest schools news stories. Your details will never be given to anyone else and you can unsubscribe at any stage. Just follow this link.

We now have a Facebook page - please click to like!


Stop stressing out our kids – why children’s mental health is as important as academic achievement
Church schools ‘misleading parents’ over admissions
Categories: Employment, Learning, Parenting, Primary, Secondary, Social media, Teaching, Technology and Uncategorized.


  1. At all 250+ OPAL Outdoor Play and Learning schools across the UK (and lots more in Canada, Australia and NZ) girls and boys of all ages from 5 -11 play together for an hour every school day, and therefore learn how to collaborate, communicate and problem solve together. It’s all in the way a school’s playtime provision is planned, designed and managed. It works!

Let us know what you think...