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Review of Problem-Solving Skills

Baird, Leonard L.
Publication Year:
Report Number:
ETS Research Report
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
Cognitive Processes, Decision Making, Problem Solving


This review considers the question as to whether there are generic problem-solving skills that cut across fields or whether the skills are so embedded within specific fields that they can be identified only within the contexts of those fields. To answer this question, an attempt was made to define both "problems" and their "solution." Then the evidence for the existence of general problem solving skills that are independent from any specific field was examined. Then the analyses of skills within disciplines were reviewed to see if the skills are common across fields. Finally, the implications of the research for the assessment of problem-solving skills were discussed. In general, it was concluded that similar skills are used in different fields but that their implementation is so dependent on mastery of the specific fields that any assessment of problem-solving skills would best be conducted within the fields. (53pp.)

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