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PISA 2022 results: The power of curiosity and persistence in learning

PISA 2022 results: The power of curiosity and persistence in learning

3 min read
  • Motivation, Resilience & Growth Mindset

Every few years, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) release their PISA report – an assessment tool which measures educational progress and outcome around the world. In their recent publication, they report the importance of social and emotional skills in education, particularly curiosity and persistence as strong predictors of mathematical performance.

This blog is part of a four-part series on the PISA 2022 Report. You can also read the others on the impact of digital distractionsthe influence of caregivers and the potential of AI in education.

What did the PISA 2022 report find?

“Cognition and emotion are intwined ingredients for academic success” – Page 60.

There is no doubt that emotional and social skills are important for students to develop, as they play a crucial role in overall well-being. Evidence from PISA also suggests that it can have a positive impact on academic success.

The report notes that “on average across OECD countries, students that were curious or persistent scored around 11 points more in Maths”. This finding highlights the connection between students’ cognitive abilities and their progress in Maths.

Research has shown that when students are persistent, they are better at overcoming challenges, develop a growth mindset and are more self-motivated. Similarly, curious students are more active in their learning, foster critical thinking and develop a more comprehensive understanding. Maths is full of complicated equations and hard problem-solving questions. Therefore, it is perhaps unsurprising that areas such as curiosity and resilience are important.

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How can we help students develop curiosity and persistence?

Being persistent and curious not only helps in academic performance but also has an impact on other important areas. The PISA report states that fostering social and emotional skills can equip students with the tools to “manage stress, adapt to setbacks, foster resilience and a positive mindset.”

In previous blogs, we suggest several ways students can become more resilient and curious in their learning. Some of these include:

  1. Encouraging self-questioning – Encourage students to ask thought-provoking questions and provide opportunities for group discussions that promote curiosity and critical thinking
  2. Emphasising the importance of reflection – Help students identify what they find challenging, what they learned from their mistakes and how they can improve in the future.
  3. Teaching coping strategies – Teach them techniques such as positive self- talk , mindfulness and goal setting.

Final thoughts

As mentioned in the report, “adolescence is a time of rapid change, where teenagers are navigating the complex terrain of identity formation, peer relationships and academic challenges. But by cultivating social and emotional skills within the educational framework, schools can help support students’ personal, academic and future professional success.”

By nurturing persistence and curiosity in students, we equip them with valuable cognitive resources that contribute to enhanced academic performance, personal growth and a lifelong love for learning.

If you want to find out more about all the PISA 2022 data, read the 72-page document here.

This blog is part of a series on the PISA 2022 report findings. You can also read about the impact of digital distractionsthe influence of families and caregivers and the potential of AI in education.

About the editor

Bradley Busch

Bradley Busch

Bradley Busch is a Chartered Psychologist and a leading expert on illuminating Cognitive Science research in education. As Director at InnerDrive, his work focuses on translating complex psychological research in a way that is accessible and helpful. He has delivered thousands of workshops for educators and students, helping improve how they think, learn and perform. Bradley is also a prolific writer: he co-authored four books including Teaching & Learning Illuminated and The Science of Learning, as well as regularly featuring in publications such as The Guardian and The Telegraph.

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