Test Scores by topic and Country

PISA 2009 Mean Scores by Country for Reading, Mathematics, and Science according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)

As we see in the news regularly, there is a heated debate going on in this country about the best way to improve our public education system.  With all of the confusion about which policies are effective or counterproductive, it can be useful to examine the education systems of other countries that stand out as successful. I recently read an article about one such a model system, in an article by Linda Darling-Hammond in Rethinking Schools, a journal dedicated to examining and improving education for all students.

The focus of the article was Finland, where student achievement is high, variation between schools is low, and student success is relatively uniform regardless of background or socioeconomic status. It wasn’t always so. Finland began reforming its school system in the 1970s in an effort to generate equality of opportunity among students. They started by eliminating standardized tests which tracked students at an early age, and instead implement broad policies that would ensure equal opportunity for all students, regardless of socioeconomic status, primary language, or parental education. Student achievement has been climbing and continues to do so as the population transforms and becomes more diverse.

To read more about how Finland does it, and what lessons we might learn here in the US, visit our blog.

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