A Singapore Government Agency Website How to identify
Official website links end with .gov.sg

Government agencies communicate via .gov.sg website
(e.g. go.gov.sg/open). Trusted websites

Secure websites use HTTPS

Look for a lock () or https:// as an added precaution.
Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Singapore Students Show High Levels of Creative Thinking Skills: OECD PISA 2022

Published Date: 18 June 2024 04:00 PM

News Press Releases

Singapore's strong showing affirms our efforts to develop 21st Century Competencies1 of our students

1. According to the 2022 results of the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA)2, Singapore is the top-performing education system in Creative Thinking among 64 participating systems. A representative sampling of 6,600 15-year-old students across all 149 secondary schools and 15 private schools3 in Singapore participated in the study from April to May 2022. (Please refer to Annex A for the mean scores of participating systems in the PISA 2022 Creative Thinking study).

2. In PISA, Creative Thinking is defined as the competence to generate diverse and creative ideas, and evaluate and improve ideas that can result in original and effective solutions, advances in knowledge, and impactful expressions of imagination. Since 2012, the OECD has included an optional innovative domain for each cycle in PISA to measure selected 21st century competencies, such as Creative Problem Solving (2012) where Singapore was ranked joint-1st with Korea, as well as Collaborative Problem Solving (2015) and Global Competence (2018) where Singapore was also ranked 1st.


Singapore students outperformed their peers around the world in Creative Thinking, continuing Singapore's lead in the PISA innovative domains since 2012

3. Creative thinking was measured through tasks that required students to generate creative ideas, as well as evaluate and improve on ideas. Full credit is awarded for uncommon ideas, while partial or no credit is awarded for common and conventional ideas. (Please refer to Annex B for sample items of the Creative Thinking study, and Annex C for a description of the various proficiency level indicators).

4. In this regard, 6 in 10 Singapore students were top performers, having attained the two highest proficiency levels4 (5 or 6) in Creative Thinking. They demonstrated the ability to generate original and diverse ideas for a wide range of problem-solving tasks and contexts which required expression and imagination. This is more than twice the OECD average proportion (27%), and the highest proportion among all 64 participating systems.

5. At the same time, Singapore had the smallest proportion (6%) of low performers who attained proficiency level 2 or below (OECD average: 22%).

6. Singapore students from lower socio-economic status (SES) homes also did very well compared to their international peers. They not only demonstrated higher levels of creative thinking than peers from bottom-25% SES homes in OECD (Singapore: 36 points; OECD: 28 points5), but also out-performed the average OECD student (OECD average: 33 points).

While Singapore students held positive beliefs and attitudes towards creative thinking, we can do more to help Singapore students develop confidence in their ability to do creative work

7. Singapore students believed that it was possible to be creative in different disciplines, and about three quarters (73%) were of the view that creativity was not limited to the arts (OECD average: 71%). Almost half of our students (48%) reported a growth mindset about creativity, believing that creativity is malleable and can be improved (OECD average: 46%).

8. Singapore students also reported higher levels of openness to engaging in intellectual activities (i.e., receptivity in appreciating and engaging with abstract and complex information), as well as art and reflection (i.e., receptivity in engaging with novel ideas, imagination, fantasy, aesthetics, and emotions), compared to their OECD peers. For example, 69% of Singapore students reported that they enjoyed projects requiring creative solutions (OECD average: 66%), while 57% enjoyed creating art (OECD average: 49%).

9. Despite their high levels of creative thinking skills, Singapore students did not think of themselves as creative. Fewer students had the confidence to say they had creative abilities. Less than half of our students believed that they could produce good stories (Singapore: 47%; OECD average: 61%) or drawings (Singapore: 42%; OECD average: 55%), or invent new things with a creative streak (Singapore: 43%; OECD average: 57%). Schools and parents can help our students develop greater confidence in their creative self-efficacy.

Singapore students are more exposed to positive classroom and social environments that foster creative thinking

10. Singapore students reported favourable perceptions of their teachers' pedagogies, which helped in nurturing their creativity. 80% of our students reported that their teachers valued students' creativity (OECD average: 70%). Similarly, 80% reported that their teachers encouraged them to come up with original answers (OECD average: 64%). 81% said that they were given opportunities at school to express their ideas (OECD average: 69%).

11. These findings affirm the important role that our teachers play in fostering creative thinking in our students in and outside of the classroom, as well as their pedagogical skills in developing creative thinking. It also affirms the effectiveness of our national curriculum in developing our students' 21st century competencies, including creative thinking.

12. Singapore students also reported more positive family and peer environments that fostered creative thinking, compared to their OECD peers. For example, 84% of our students noted that their family encouraged them to try new things (OECD average: 83%), while 88% reported that they and their friends gave one another feedback about their ideas (OECD average: 84%).

13. Reflecting on the findings, Director-General of Education, Ms Liew Wei Li said, "We are very encouraged by our students' performance, which also affirm the steadfast role our teachers have played in fostering creative thinking skills among students both in and outside the classroom. In a high-tech age where knowledge is easily available to all, Singapore students will need to continuously create new and meaningful value to the world. MOE and schools will continue to work with parents and community partners to provide our students with diverse learning experiences that will help them flourish."

  1. These are competencies which MOE has identified which will help students thrive in a fast-changing and globalised world of the 21st century, such as critical, adaptive and inventive thinking.

  2. PISA is an international study coordinated by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) that examines how well education systems are helping their students acquire the knowledge and skills essential for full participation in modern societies.

  3. Private schools include privately-funded schools, foreign-system schools, and religious schools.

  4. In the PISA assessment, level 1 is the lowest proficiency level and level 6 is the highest.

  5. Student performance in Creative Thinking is reported on a scale from 0 to 60 score points.