Samuel GreiffAndreas Fischer

Measuring Complex Problem Solving: An educational application of psychological theories


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Complex Problem Solving (CPS) is a central topic in modern educational contexts and has received increased interest in educational large-scale assessment studies such as the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) and the Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC). Measurement devices up to the present have suffered from a lack of theoretical embedment and low reliability. This article reviews the most important theories of CPS that may be applied to the process of rational test construction. Specifically, the functionalist approach focusing on cognitive processes and the approach of action theory focusing on distinct phases are discussed in their relation to CPS and its assessment. As an example of how to develop a reliable and valid measurement device based on these theories, we propose the development of MicroDYN, which is the operationalization of CPS in PISA 2012.

Complex Problem Solving; Functionalism; Action theory; Operative intelligence