This Year’s Finland, Dept

Never mind that the PISA test is steeped in fuzziness and constructed based on the REM system developed in The Netherlands. And never mind that despite the fuzziness of the test, nations that score high on PISA seem to use traditional teaching techniques.

Finland has fallen out of favor of late, and now Estonia flies the banner high: Good scores on PISA and most of the students are from low-income families. Therefore they must be doing something right. The Atlantic article doesn’t go into detail on what the curriculum for math is about but it does bow to the “Too much of a good thing–what good are test scores anyway” gambit:

“But throughout the country, policymakers and educators are talking about the need to produce students who can do more than score well on a test, perhaps go on to become entrepreneurs and creative leaders. Educators are also concerned that focusing on the average student and bringing up low-achievers to that standard comes at the expense of pushing gifted students further.

“Estonian education philosophy needs to change and is changing, many educators said, to one that puts more focus on students as individuals and has them drive more of what happens in the classroom.”

Look, the entrpeneurial and creativity aspects that seem to come so naturally to the US and are the envy of other countries, I can assure you, are not the results of our illustrious educational system. There are other factors at play. And let’s not poo-poo test scores. They must mean something or we wouldn’t be spending so much time with them. Estonia is doing something right; it obviously isn’t broken so let’s not make Estonia into another US. They tried that in Japan, and Japan got wise and reverted to its previous system. Singapore is trying it now, but they have enough aspects of their old system that the US portions of their curriculum haven’t spoiled things. Student-centered classrooms are really not the answer no matter how much Mark Tucker and others seem to think so.

Never mind that the PISA test is steeped in fuzziness and constructed based on the REM system developed in The Netherlands. And never mind that despite the fuzziness of the test, nations that score high on PISA seem to use traditional teaching techniques.

Finland has fallen out of favor of late, and now Estonia flies the banner high: Good scores on PISA and most of the students are from low-income families. Therefore they must be doing something right. The Atlantic article doesn’t go into detail on what the curriculum for math is about but it does bow to the “Too much of a good thing–what good are test scores anyway” gambit:

“But throughout the country, policymakers and educators are talking about the need to produce students who can do more than score well on a test, perhaps go on to become entrepreneurs and creative leaders. Educators are also concerned that focusing on the average student and bringing up low-achievers to that standard comes at the expense of pushing gifted students further.

“Estonian education philosophy needs to change and is changing, many educators said, to one that puts more focus on students as individuals and has them drive more of what happens in the classroom.”

Look, the entrpeneurial and creativity aspects that seem to come so naturally to the US and are the envy of other countries, I can assure you, are not the results of our illustrious educational system. There are other factors at play. And let’s not poo-poo test scores. They must mean something or we wouldn’t be spending so much time with them. Estonia is doing something right; it obviously isn’t broken so let’s not make Estonia into another US. They tried that in Japan, and Japan got wise and reverted to its previous system. Singapore is trying it now, but they have enough aspects of their old system that the US portions of their curriculum haven’t spoiled things. Student-centered classrooms are really not the answer no matter how much Mark Tucker and others seem to think so.

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