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Ireland's school children aren't great at problem solving, but are you any better?

Irish kids came 22nd from 44 countries. Think you’d do better?

Image: Headscratch via Shutterstock

THE LATEST REPORT from the OECD’s student assessment board has shown Irish school children have poor abilities to solve problems.

The Programme for International Student Assessment (PiSA) has ranked Ireland at 22nd from 44 countries in computer-based problem solving.

Countries like the United States, Norway, Denmark and Sweden performed similarly to Ireland; while Canada, Australia, Finland and the UK performed significantly better than Ireland. The top six performing countries are in Asia, with Singapore ranked first.

Boys and girls have similar standards, but there is a gap between the performances of native Irish children and those from immigrant backgrounds.

Minister for Education and Skills, Ruairí Quinn said, “The performance of Irish students on problem solving in this PISA study is good, but there is considerable room for improvement.”

In Ireland, 1,303 15 year olds in 183 schools participated in the tests.

But, are you any better? Here are some of the sample questions.

Question 1: Julio lives in Silver, Maria lives in Lincoln and Don lives in Nobel. They want to meet in a suburb on the map. No-one wants to travel for more than 15 minutes. The numbers on the roads represent the time it takes to travel from point to point. Where could they meet?

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Question 2: Maria wants to travel from Diamond to Einstein. The quickest route takes 31 minutes. Highlight this route.

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Question 3: It’s Alan’s birthday and he’s having a party. Seven other people will attend. Everyone will sit around the dining table. The seating arrangement must meet the following conditions:

Amy and Alan sit together.
Brad and Beth sit together.
Charles sits next to either Debbie or Emily.
Frances sits next to Debbie.
Amy and Alan do not sit next to either Brad or Beth.
Brad does not sit next to Charles or Frances.
Debbie and Emily do not sit next to each other.
Alan does not sit next to either Debbie or Emily.
Amy does not sit next to Charles.

Where should everyone sit?

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The answers are here, but no cheating. For more interactive questions, click here.

How did you do? Let us know in the comments.

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