USA Education

Emma Cardin, Staff Writer

The country of Finland has the best educated people in the world, and yet, young people in Finland take all the same courses and subjects as a U.S student. Here’s the difference, In Finland there is no such thing as standardized test taking.

In the United States, standardized test taking is considered to be a necessary skill for students. The pressures of performing well on these tests are implemented as soon as second grade, and preparation starts even earlier.

As long as I can remember I have been learning with the goal being proficient in a skill by the time the test has come. In some cases it is easy to learn and know all the material before being examined. However there are other times when I feel rushed to cram all of the information in before the test arrives. With this comes an incredible amount of stress that can actually decrease the student’s performance rather than enhance it.

Finland has recognized this, and has been working to reduce the stress of school on students. This is something that has been working for them, proven by their first place PISA test results (The international test countries take to compare student education). To put their above average scores in perspective, the United States struggles to maintain average scores.

In Forest Hills we are accustomed to holding up our title as being some of the best educated students. Carrying that title sometimes places a huge burden on students to continue to receive above-average scores. This is the kind of pressure the Finnish school systems have successfully eliminated.

In Finland students do not begin school until the age of seven, and go to government funded pre-school type places until that point. They foster the belief that education does not mean each child should conform to one way of learning, but rather to learn in their own way. Teachers in Finland are some of the most respected people, the requirements to become a teacher are rigorous and teachers stay with the same students through most of their education. allowing them to know each other personally. Students are given access to free health care, mental health services, and counselors that have close relationships with students, all through their school. They are given over two times the amount of break time during school, and have an average of an hours worth of homework per night.

Conclusion: less stress fosters better results in school.

As a school district, a state, and a nation, our way of education is not likely to change to mimic Finland any time soon. However, as an individual, it is possible to take a page out of Finland’s book. While studying in moderation is a good thing, the stress caused by being overworked can be self destructive. If school has become the most stressful thing in your life (and it shouldn’t be), consider forgoing those late nights and early mornings, take a bath, relax, and maybe read that assigned passage of Shakespeare while you‘re at it.