We’ve heard it all before: study, work hard and you’ll do well in school. But in the USA (as in many western countries), even with that notion in mind, success levels among students have been dropping. It may be that American school systems, rather than study skills, have been failing. The PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) survey done by OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) compares the reading, math, and science competency of 15 year olds in various countries around the world. The study shows that schools in Finland, ranked in the top three, while the USA falls into a middle standing. “Finland has ranked at or near the top in all three competencies on every survey since 2000, neck and neck with superachievers such as South Korea and Singapore.” The best part is that Finland’s success is not based on the classic ‘cram and memorize’, it’s based on equal opportunity learning for all students. Finnish schools even assign less homework and engage children in more creative play.
“Finland's dream was that we want to have a good public education for every child regardless of where they go to school or what kind of families they come from...”
Americans are constantly testing students and teachers to ensure competence and quality of education, competition—between students, teachers and schools—is fostered. In Finland there are no standardized tests, “the public school system's teachers are trained to assess children in classrooms using independent tests they create themselves. All children receive a report card at the end of each semester, but these reports are based on individualized grading by each teacher. Periodically, the Ministry of Education tracks national progress by testing a few sample groups across a range of different schools.”
“Finland's experience shows that it is possible to achieve excellence by focusing not on competition, but on cooperation, and not on choice, but on equity.”
For more about Finland rising: Link