Back in 2001, the first Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) test was given. The test, for students age 15, consists of three sections: Reading, Math, and Science. You don’t have to memorize material. For example, the Math sections lists all the formulas that you need to solve the problems.
PISA tests critical thinking. The goal is to see how well students interpret and analyze new information given information. I like this type of test because I believe it is more important to see how well students can use information to solve problems and come up with new ideas.
But why Finland? On the inaugural test (in 2001), Finland scored #1 in all three subject areas. Since then, other countries have taken the top spot, Seventy-two countries participate. Singapore took top honors in all three subjects in 2015, the most current test. Finland scored #13 in Math (United States (#40), #5 in Science (United States #25), and #4 in Reading (United States #24).
I’m currently reading Teach Like Finland – 33 Simple Strategies for Joyful Classrooms by Timothy D. Walker. The book is divided into five sections:
What impresses me most is the sense of community between teachers, students, and students and teachers. It reminds me of the time when I was in school, everyone knew everyone and you could confide and rely on others.
No one book will give students the secret to higher grades or solve our education concerns in the US. However, I think you will find Teach Like Finland – 33 Simple Strategies for Joyful Classrooms an interesting read.
You may also enjoy the Taught By Finland blog.