PISA 2012 problem-solving answer to question level 3 (climate control)
PROBLEM SOLVING QUESTION (LEVEL 3)
The CORRECT answer is shown below.
At Level 3, students can handle information presented in several different formats. They can explore a problem scenario and infer simple relationships among its components. They can control simple digital devices, but have trouble with more complex devices. Problem-solvers at Level 3 can fully deal with one condition, for example, by generating several solutions and checking to see whether these satisfythe condition. When there are multiple conditions or inter-related features, they can hold one variable constant to see the effect of change on the other variables. They can devise and execute tests to confirm or refute a given hypothesis. They understand the need to plan ahead and monitor progress, and are able to try a different option if necessary.
NATURE OF THE TASK
Explore and represent the relationships between variables in a system with multiple dependencies. An unfamiliar air conditioner has three controls that determine its effect on air temperature and humidity. The student must experiment with the controls to determine which controls have an impact on temperature and which on humidity, then represent the causal relations by drawing arrows between the three inputs (the controls) and the two outputs (temperature and humidity).
The problem is interactive i.e. not all information is disclosed at the outset and some information has to be uncovered by exploring the problem situation. The setting is technology because the problem involves a technological device and the focus is personal because the problem involves oneself.
PROBLEM SOLVING PROCESS
The process is representing and formulating because it involves building a coherent mental representation of the problem situation. To do this, relevant information must be selected, mentally organised and integrated with relevant prior knowledge. This may involve: representing the problem by constructing tabular, graphical, symbolic or verbal representations, and shifting between representational formats; and formulating hypotheses by identifying the relevant factors in the problem and their interrelationships; organising and critically evaluating information.