High stakes tests?

by David Safier

Here's a comment from Phillip D, spotlighting a recent article on education in Finland — high scorer on international tests yet virtually standardized-testing free. And recess! And art and music! And high paid teachers! (If you read the article, look at the very telling comparison between Finland and Norway.)

I am encouraged to notice that the regimin of standardized testing that was forced upon us and shoved down our throats is now being looked at with a very critical eye.

Finland has scored a the top of the international tests n Math, Reading, and Science for last 12 years, and they deliberately rejected the prevailing standardization movement. What they did instead to reform their education system is quite interesting: http://www.tnr.com/article/politics/82329/education-reform-Finland-US

Finland pays teachers extremely well. Their teachers make 102% of what their fellow university graduates make (compared to 65% in the United States).

They made teaching a highly competitive and very attractive career choice with the high pay, and they get very talented people as a result.

What's really interesting in that article though is what else they did. Besides paying teachers a lot more, they also did away with standardized testing (no AIMS in Finland), mandated kids play outside for at least 90 minutes a day, and also mandated kids take classes in art, music, cooking, carpentry, metalwork, and textiles.

They take the exact opposite approach we do and have great success! Even before Bush's education guru Diane Ravitch came out in public and said she has changed her mind after looking at ten years worth of data — The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0465014917/) — Finland had reached the same conclusion and reformed what it did, and has experienced great results.

Notice how what Finland does, and how it does what it does, is contrary to the ideas propagandized and pushed by the GI. And the results are indisputable.

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