Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Finnish Education System in 2011

Pasi Sahlberg writes in his book Finnish Lessons:
One of the key messages of this book is that unlike many other contemporary systems of education, the Finnish system has not been infected by market-based competition and high-stakes testing policies. The main reason is that the education community in Finland has remained unconvinced that competition and choice with more standardized testing than students evidently require would be good for schools. The ultimate success of a high-stakes testing policy is whether it positively affects student learning, not whether it increases student test scores on a particular test. If student learning remains unaffected, or if testing leads to biased teaching, the validity of such high-stakes must be questioned. Finnish education authorities and especially teachers have not been convinced that frequent external census-based testing and stronger accountability would be beneficial to students and their learning.
Based on this paragraph alone, I can think of many people who would have a vested interest in ensuring that educators around the world would never read Sahlberg's book. For many, this book would prove to be ideologically inconvenient.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Mr. Bower,
    My name is Kevin Hutchinson, and I am a student in Dr. Strange's EDM310 class at the University of South Alabama. I found this paragraph quite interesting. I have never been a fan of "high-stakes standardized testing." I do not believe it positively affects how a student learns. These tests turn educators into test teachers, and the students learn how to take tests instead of learning something relevant to actual education. Also, students who are not great test takers are left with a stigma of underachievement. Many of these test are timed and culturally biased. Students with great academic ability may be excluded from college opportunities. Point being, heavy emphasis on standardized test taking causes education systems to lose sight of the ultimate objective of student learning. This is a great post.


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