Estonian students rank first in Europe and among the top globally in PISA creative thinking study

Today, the results of the PISA 2022 Creative Thinking test, conducted as part of the larger PISA study, were released in all participating countries. The Creative Thinking study involved 64 countries, and Estonian students achieved 1st place in Europe and ranked between 5th and 8th globally.

Liina Põld, Deputy Secretary General of the Ministry of Education and Research, stated that there is reason to be proud of both our students and the Estonian education system. “In addition to the excellent results of the main PISA study, the Creative Thinking results show that our young people possess strong problem-solving skills alongside their subject-specific knowledge. They approach problems creatively, generate smart ideas, and propose effective solutions,” said Põld, adding that the aspect of creative thinking is also a focus in curriculum development and teacher training planning.

Assessing creative thinking in PISA 2022

The assessment of creative thinking in the PISA 2022 test focused on students’ ability to generate, evaluate, and refine ideas that can lead to original and effective solutions. For example, how to improve wheelchair accessibility in a library, what might be the various scientific explanations for frogs leaving their habitat, or how to consume smartly and avoid wasting food stored at home.

From Estonia, 6,392 students from grades 8 and 9 across 196 schools participated in the study. The average score of Estonian students in creative thinking was 35.9 points, higher than the OECD average of 32.7 points. 89% of Estonian students achieved at least the basic level (OECD average: 78%), and 34% reached the top performer level (OECD average: 27%). Our students performed best in written and visual expression, as well as scientific problem solving, with slightly lower results in social problem solving.

Lower socioeconomic impact in Estonia

The results were fairly consistent across Estonia, with a minimal impact from socioeconomic background. In Estonia, this indicator was 6.9%, compared to the OECD average of 11.6%. Girls scored 3.4 points higher than boys.

PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) is an international educational study that assesses the knowledge and skills of 15-year-old students. The study is organized by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). So far, there have been eight PISA studies, and Estonia has participated since 2006. The Creative Thinking study was conducted as part of the main PISA 2022 test in the spring of 2022.


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