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Gyöngyvér Molnár: Factor influencing the development complex problem solving ability

The most important aim of education is to prepare pupils for future life, for the unknown, for real-life problems. The prerequisite of this is that school-related knowledge of pupils should not be fragmented into subjects and restricted to school context. It should be coherent, systematised knowledge, applicable and transferable to novel situations, where not only quality matters, but quantity too. So nowadays there is a growing concern that schools should provide students with high-quality knowledge applicable in real life situations. One way of testing and assessing knowledge application is conducting a survey on problem solving ability in real life situations. Accordingly, the aim of the empirical study presented in this paper is to assess the extent to which young people have acquired knowledge and skills in the given domains. The subjects were 9- to 17-year-old students' (N=5337) from Hungarian primary and secondary schools. The instruments of the study are pencil and paper tests. To sum up results, it is the solving of mathematical problems that we could find the most significant development in. Pupils' level of reading skills was the most influential factor regarding performance on complex problem solving tests. Besides reading, the determining effect of the developmental level of inductive reasoning that helps the realisation of relationships proved to be important. We have found that school marks indicate the applica ability of acquired knowledge only to a lesser extent. The role of family background, expected to in the present study define the developmental level of pupils' thinking skills, was not proved to be considerable in the present study. The analysis shows that the transfer of competencies learned is not automatic and is something that should be taught. The assessment and monitoring of application and applicability, the conditions for the acquisition of key competencies integrated into school curriculum, is important at school. The present study shares the concern prevalent in educational research today: to investigate the possibility and necessity of providing students with kowledge they are able to apply outside the school to solve problems they have never encountered before.

MAGYAR PEDAGÓGIA 103. Number 1. 81-103. (2003)

Levelezési cím / Address for correspondence: Molnár Gyöngyvér, Szegedi Tudományegyetem, Neveléstudományi Tanszék, H­6722 Szeged, Petőfi S. sgt. 30­-34.


Magyar Tudományos Akadémia