SCOTTISH pupils are performing above the international average in problem solving skills, a new survey shows.

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) also found girls outperformed boys in the tests - in line with other countries.

The countries that performed better than Scotland overall included Australia, Canada, England, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Japan, Korea and New Zealand.

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Scotland was ahead of 19 countries including Belgium, Chile, the Czech Republic, France, Greece, Hungary, Iceland and Israel.

Scottish pupils performed to a similar level as their counterparts in similar to Austria, Denmark, Netherlands, Northern Ireland, Sweden and the United States.

John Swinney, the Deputy First Minister, said: “The problem solving results show the Scottish education system is performing well in this regard and above the OECD average.

“The results show us that our 15-year-olds have key strengths in the skills that are necessary for contributing to society.

“We should be rightly proud of our young people and of our teachers who work hard day in day out to deliver these results, ensuring they have the skills and capacity they need to succeed in learning, life and work.”

The survey also included a pupil questionnaire which found that Scottish students were significantly more likely than the OECD average to “agree” or “strongly agree” to the statements “I enjoy seeing my classmates be successful” and “I take into account what others are interested in”.

The OECD report said: “Modern life requires people to collaborate with one another.

“Many human activities involve groups of people, where individuals rely on each other for things that they cannot do themselves.

“More and more jobs require a high level of social skills, while the proportion of jobs that require minimal social skills is shrinking.

“This first assessment of collaborative problem-solving skills shows how well-prepared 15-year-old students are to work together productively.”

The Paris-based development agency introduced the new tests, taken by 15-year-olds, as part of its long-established PISA programme, which looks at performance in reading, mathematics and science.