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Collaborative Problem Solving: Proficiency Levels


Level Descriptions

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Exhibit CPS1. Summary description of the four proficiency levels in PISA collaborative problem solving: 2015
Level Score range What students can typically do
4 Equal to or higher than 640 score points At Level 4, students can successfully carry out complicated problem-solving tasks with high collaboration complexity. They can solve complex problems with multiple constraints, keeping relevant background information in mind. These students maintain an awareness of group dynamics and take actions to ensure that team members act in accordance with their agreed-upon roles. At the same time, they can monitor progress towards a solution and identify obstacles to overcome or gaps to be bridged. Level 4 students take initiative and perform actions or make requests to overcome obstacles and to resolve disagreements and conflicts. They can balance the collaboration and problem-solving aspects of a presented task, identify efficient pathways to a solution, and take actions to solve the given problem.
3 540 to less than 640 score points At Level 3, students can complete tasks with either complex problem-solving requirements or complex collaboration demands. These students can perform multi-step tasks that require integrating multiple pieces of information, often in complex and dynamic problems. They orchestrate roles within the team and identify information needed by particular team members to solve the problem. Level 3 students can recognize the information needed to solve a problem, request it from the appropriate team member, and identify when the provided information is incorrect. When conflicts arise, they can help team members negotiate a solution.
2 440 to less than 540 score points At Level 2, students can contribute to a collaborative effort to solve a problem of medium difficulty. They can help solve a problem by communicating with team members about the actions to be performed. They can volunteer information not specifically requested by another team member. Level 2 students understand that not all team members have the same information and can consider differing perspectives in their interactions. They can help the team establish a shared understanding of the steps required to solve a problem. These students can request additional information required to solve a problem and solicit agreement or confirmation from team members about the approach to be taken. Students near the top of Level 2 can take the initiative to suggest a logical next step, or propose a new approach, to solve a problem.
1 340 to less than 440 score points At Level 1, students can complete tasks with low problem complexity and limited collaboration complexity. They can provide requested information and take actions to enact plans when prompted. Level 1 students can confirm actions or proposals made by others. They tend to focus on their individual role within the group. With support from team members, and when working on a simple problem, these students can help find a solution to the given problem.
NOTE: A fifth proficiency level, below level 1 (scores less than 340), includes students who did not successfully complete a sufficient number of items at level 1 difficulty and, thus, their skills cannot be described. Proficiency level 1 and below level 1 are sometimes combined in reports and referred to as below level 2.
SOURCE: Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), 2015.