What Makes Finnish Kids So Smart?
The Wall Street Journal asks this question. Finnish students consistently outperform the rest of the world on international tests, yet Finnish high school students rarely have more than 30 minutes of homework per night. So what’s working?
The article seems to think it’s because Finnish schools focus only on academics. There are no sports teams, band classes, or other extra-curriculars. In addition, Finnish schools “teach to the bottom,” believing that brighter students will learn from helping those that are less fortunate.
How deliciously Eastern-European circa 1984.
I would argue that Finnish students perform well because they have one of the most homogeneous populations in the world. It’s easy to teach to the middle when all of your students are the same race, ethnicity, and socio-economic status. The U.S. may have more variance with results, but diversity is a strength in and of itself. I’m not sure that the Finnish model should be the model we adopt here.
Not that this means we should ignore our international standing. I just mean that we need to control for additional variables.