Presentation on theme: "October 2013. On the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) tests, Finland has consistently ranked among the highest performing nations."— Presentation transcript:
On the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) tests, Finland has consistently ranked among the highest performing nations in the world PISA is administered every three years, and is a given to assess knowledge and skills of 15-year old students from participating countries and economies through the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) PISA assesses students skills in reading literacy, mathematics, and science Why Finland?
Surprise In the first PISA administration (2000), Finland was 1st out of 40 countries in reading (US 15 th ) 3rd in science (US 14 th ) 4 th in math (US 19 th ) Finland didnt set out to be # 1. In fact, they were quite surprised by the results and outwardly do not put much stock in them Pasi Sahlberg – Director General of Finlands Centre for International Mobility and Cooperation and author of Finnish Lessons: What Can the World Learn from Educational Change in Finland? Finnish educators don't care about standardized test scores We prepare children to learn how to learn, not how to take a test
PISA Results, 2009 ReadMathSci Shanghai556600575 Korea539546538 Finland536541554 Hong Kong533555549 Singapore526562542 Canada524527529 New Zealand521519532 Japan520529539 Australia515514527 Netherlands508526522 Belgium506515507 Norway503498500 Estonia501512528 ReadMathSci Switzerland501534517 Poland500495508 Iceland500507496 United States500487502 Liechtenstein499536520 Sweden497494495 Germany497513520 Ireland496487508 France496497498 Chinese Taipei495543520 Denmark495503499 UK494492514 Hungary494490503
Finnish schools come closest to achieving equality of educational opportunity as they have the least variation in education provided for their children (OECD, 2009) Finlands PISA results also indicate equity in educational outcomes when compared to students socio-economic backgrounds On the 2009 PISA, only Iceland (among OECD countries) had a smaller percentage of variance in students performance explained by socio-economic factors Finland: 8% USA: 17% Why Finland?
Population : 5.4 million, 15.8 inhabitants per km² (40.5 per square mile) Life expectancy : Men 76 years, women 83 years Languages : Official languages are Finnish (spoken by 91%) and Swedish (5.4%). Sámi is the mother tongue of about 1,700 people, members of the indigenous Sámi people of northern Lapland Religion : Christianity; 79.9% Lutheran and about 1.1% Orthodox. Finland Facts
It rejects all of the "reforms" currently popular in the United States, such as testing, charter schools, vouchers, merit pay, competition, and evaluating teachers in relation to the test scores of their students Finland borrowed many of its most valued ideas from the United States such as equality of educational opportunity, individualized instruction, portfolio assessment, and cooperative learning It was not always like this... Finland Educational Facts
Before 1970s Students divided into two different streams of education after four years of schooling Academic and theoretical subjects Practical and task-oriented subjects Teachers specialized in one or the other track Reformers argued system had moral economic weaknesses: Students made career choices by age 11 Basic education was divided into two unequal tracks of different scopes and contents Unfair distribution of resources: limited amount of academic schools, concentrated in towns Finnish Reform
End of the 1960s Finnish Parliament adopted the law on comprehensive school reform Despite unanimous vote, much skepticism Two-stream system was fundamentally unacceptable as depended on division into classes School composition must be similar to the structure of the whole society Very important that children from different social classes become accustomed to meeting each other in the common school Finnish Reform
Educational Framework 1970s two-stream system was replaced with peruskoulu, a nine- year compulsory, common school National curriculum for primary and secondary education Developed with teachers as educational experts Today – 96% of students complete peruskoulu First 6 years - generalist elementary teacher/almost all subjects All students receive same curriculum Last 3 years -specialized subject teachers Common subjects and optional studies (electives). Optional studies may include: Foreign languages, sports, art, music, or integrated, in-depth courses or applied studies in the common subjects. Finnish Reform
After 9 th grade, students attend either an academic program or a vocational one Students attend three more years of school through either stream Formal qualification to enter university or Finnish polytechnics The vocational curriculum is primarily job-related The academic part of the curriculum is adapted to the needs of a given course Students rarely can choose both academic and vocational schooling Age 16, students take Matriculation exam which allow students to choose one of two pathways Take as many matriculation exams as they want Educational counseling and guidance is a very big part which includes students and family Students also have the option of attending peruskoulu for a 10th year Finnish Reform
Finnish schools lack variety of extracurricular activities -sports teams or musical bands Students learn at least three languages: Finnish, Swedish, and English Religion is taught in school as a right of every student Students are taught own religion; if not religious, then they get ethics classes Finnish Reform
Lack of Competition Schools aren't ranked against each other No formal teacher reviews Teachers do not have to organize curriculum around standardized testing No gifted programs, honor societies, or valedictorians Struggling students receive free extra tutoring Few private schools No school choice Finnish Reform
Cooperation Multiparty democracy fosters collaboration and compromise Educational equality is an economic necessity Cooperation throughout the education sector is a political necessity Finnish Reform
In Finland, we spent one day meeting with educational leaders at the local and federal levels and another day visiting schools Finnish National Board of Education, University of Helsinki Teacher Training Program, City of Helsinki Department of Education Etela-Tapiola Upper Secondary School, Lauttasaari School The visit was capped with a formal de-briefing session among all 30 participants in the delegation Structure of Visit
Governmental and Educational National Effort for Reform (Sahlberg, 2012) 3 Pillars of Reform Systematic Focus on Equity Enhanced Professionalism Less is Better Finnish Reform
Education as a human right - All education from preschool to university is free of charge for anybody living in Finland Systematic Focus on Equity
Well-being of children – By law, all children have access to: Childcare – Three years of maternity leave and subsidized day care for parents State subsidizes parents, paying them approximately 150 euros per month for every child until age 17 Comprehensive health care – Free Systematic Focus on Equity
Free Pre-School Not mandatory but 97% of 6- year-olds attend public preschool in their own communities Pre-school teachers are certified/masters level Focus on social skills, emotional awareness, play Fewer than 4% of children live in poverty Systematic Focus on Equity
School Funding - Formula guarantees equal allocation of resources to each school regardless of location or wealth of its community Free education - teaching, educational equipment supplies Welfare services (including health, dental, counseling services, and one free warm meal a day) Transportation typically arranged by the municipality for distances over three miles Systematic Focus on Equity
School funding - divided between central government and municipalities Originally central government subsidy (on average) 57 % -municipal contribution 43 % Municipal % rising in recent years Municipalities pay for hospitals, health centers and social welfare Systematic Focus on Equity
Post reform All students received same education through compulsory schooling which made difficult transition for teachers due to their specialization Professional development/in-service teacher training greatly needed for existing teachers Content area training was needed most as there was no formal university training for content Teacher preparation and training were key to the Finnish educational reform Enhanced Professionalism
National system of teacher education Consistent, high academic standards Only 8 universities are permitted to prepare teachers No alternative ways to earn a teaching license In the 70s 2/3 of licensure programs were cut Admission to teacher education programs is highly competitive (elite): 1 out of 10 applicants is accepted According to Professor Jair Iavonen (our 2 nd presenter in Helsinki-10/8) over 2500 students applied to the University to be teachers for 120 spots last year. Accepted students have already taken required high school courses in physics, chemistry, philosophy, music, and at least two foreign languages Enhanced Professionalism
Every teacher must complete an undergraduate degree and a master's degree Strong academic education for three years Two-year master's degree program Subject-matter teachers earn their master's degree: From the university's academic departments Not in education department or separate teachers college Have same credentials as professors Elementary teachers have: Strong backgrounds in core academic areas (e.g., classes for teaching math happen in the mathematics department) Enhanced Professionalism
So selective and demanding is the process that virtually every teacher is well prepared Teachers are prepared to design their own curricula, assess their own pupils progress, and continuously improve their own teaching and their school Teachers are trained to be researchers about their own profession, consistently using data to inform their approach to instruction Enhanced Professionalism
Anneli Rautianian Head of Pre-primary and Basic Ed at the National Board of Education Ministry is responsible for Education policies Preparing legislation for parliament Negotiating budget allocations for education National Board is responsible for Policy implementation Development of educational objectives, contents, and methods, which it codifies in the national core curricula Evaluating outcomes National curriculum changes every ten years based on student testing (done twice since 1998) National curriculum changes are not top down Writing is done with teachers, principals, university members, unions, and national board members Enhanced Professionalism
Pasi Silander - technology scientist - foremost school technologist and innovator in Finland, responsible for the Professional Development center for all 150 schools in Helsinki system National curriculum is very standardized education. All the skills are defined and the schools have basic curriculums that are based on the national standards. Every teacher has national teachers manuals that are quite prescriptive. Developed by publishing companies, which also make their school books. Manuals provide advice on the methods and length of instruction. Essentially, the curriculum is scripted, along with high quality formative and summative assessments that every child is expected to do. Enhanced Professionalism
Manuals are not mandatory Teachers use the manuals as a pedagogical floor, not a ceiling Expertly designed to meet the needs of: Curriculum Instruction Assessments The lowest performing or new teachers still have a high impact on student learning Therefore, there is a tremendous level of educational consistency across the country. 2% difference in outcomes across schools nationwide Enhanced Professionalism
Professional Development is valued for maintaining educated staff In Helsinki Schools: Teachers come in teams Not focused on basic skills but on strategic development for action plan and goals for pedagogical changes Teachers have 7-8 training days per year Substitutes are provided Training is available on teachers own time as well Enhanced Professionalism
Teaching in Finland is one of the top career choices for young people as they are highly regarded professionals Because entry into teaching is difficult and the training is rigorous, teaching is a respected and prestigious profession in Finland We appreciate education in Finland. It is a tool for social climbing… In Finland the dream is achieved through education (Silander) We also appreciate teachers a lot. All teachers have very good educations. (Silander) Enhanced Professionalism
Finnish Schools' years are longer (190 days) but have less time for overall instruction. Less is Better
By observation, Finnish instruction follows a more traditional approach. Dr. Lavonen of the University of Helsinki agreed with that view. However, the focus is different. More the whole picture, rather than just the pedagogy. Focus on conceptual understanding. Concepts are introduced in rich, varied contexts to provide understand the meaning of concepts. Students are then required to apply concepts in various contexts. Less memorization and recalling of information. Teachers dont feel stressed. They have time to plan, they have the feeling of autonomy and can collaborate with others … Curriculum is focused on depth rather than coverage (Lavonen). Less is Better
Learn by thinking, not listening to the teacher. work in teams. Tasks are problems. Not just read text and ask questions. First the questions then the resources. Open ended learning...not the product but process and applied learning. Questions come from students, real life, or teachers. (Silander) At the Lauttasaari School (middle and high) 5 semesters 25 classes - less breadth, more depth. Less is Better
There was a very tangible sense of trust in the educational system among policy makers, administrators, teachers, and students Im sure we have rules somewhere, but Im not sure Ive seen them. You just act like a normal human being. – High school student There is a shared belief that education is the key to the countrys long-term health As long as our education is working and were producing engineers, our country will survive. – High school headmaster Almost all students (and citizens) are trilingual; Finnish and Swedish are required languages and every person we met spoke English An Outsiders View of Finland
Our approach to meeting the needs of ALL students – particularly those with the most severe learning needs – surpasses what we witnessed in Finland Our classrooms are more student-centered, and less teacher-centered – and Finnish policy-makers are looking to move towards our pedagogical approaches One of the hallmarks of the Finnish system is teachers working in collaboration to look at common assessments; this is the center of our teachers work with Professional Learning Communities What We Should Feel Good About
Collectively, we discussed possible Finnish impacts on our schools Building Community in Districts and Schools We need to reinforce community connections in our districts We all have an enormous amount of authority in our communitieswe need to use it We need to better align our students learning to what they are experiencing in their communities We need to do better about integrating migrant families in our communities and providing both excellent and equitable educational opportunities to those children We need to continue with Professional Learning Communities Collaboration between teachers, administrators, colleges of education, legislators, municipal leaders Finlands impact on us?
Enhancing Guidance for Students We need to do a strong job of guiding students on their individual life pathways and providing helpful career guidance. We need to invest in every single student. Future of Education We need to change the perception of vocational education to a more positive one. We need to reclaim and promote the notion that teachers are professionals. We have to approach the notion of education with more innovation. We have to talk about the future of education more with our peers in order to strengthen the educational communitys focus on new ways of learning. Finlands impact on us?
Future of Education (continued) We need to think carefully about the relationship between politics and education. There is some debate over how much autonomy the education sector should have from politics and to what extent legislators and educators should sit at the same table to plan for the future of education. We need to work with our students to plan for the future of educationtheir input is valuable. We have to both share and reallocate the resources we have to maximize their impact on our students. We need to strengthen our pre-school and early education programs so there is less of a gap for students entering the public schools. We need to strengthen teacher preparation programs and opportunities for professional development. Finlands impact on us?