According to The Center on International Education Benchmarking (CIEB), Finland, Japan, and Canada are some of the world’s top performing countries. However, the education system of the United States continues to lag behind that of these three countries and many others. In order to compete more with these countries, one must look more in depth into these education systems and compare the many different factors that are contributing to the success of these countries such as their educational structure, curriculum and assessment, teacher quality, and accountability.
The Center on International Education Benchmarking states that the success of Finland’s schools is said to come from the highly-qualified teachers and the high value the Finns place on the teaching field. Finland has created very in depth policies on the recruitment, selection, training, and supervision process of the teaching profession. However, this would not be enough in itself without the national curriculum they have put into place. This national curriculum does not give teachers’ methods on how to teach, but instead provides guidelines that outline how teachers should focus on developing their students skills and creativity (Hancock).
Finland also tends to focus less on standardized tests for accountability, but more on monitoring students’ progress in comprehensive schools than that of the U.S. The monitoring assessments are offered to these schools for sixth and ninth grade. These assessments are optional to teachers, but most decide to take the test out of curiosity. These results are not publicized, but are used to drive instruction in the classroom. The actual exam that all students strive to do good on is the Matriculation Exam which is taken at the end of upper secondary school. However, in the U.S. standardized tests are given almost religiously and are used to hold schools and teachers accountable for students’ work which in return judges teacher quality and effectiveness. Finland sees no need in judging teacher quality in this manner because they only hire highly-qualified teachers.
However, the increased trend of Finland’s difficulty with internationalization and multiculturalism has become a major milestone for these highly qualified teachers. The Finnish government's response to this trend is to constantly update and improve teacher training programs that allow teachers to take more up to date courses on multiculturalism. The government has also implemented teacher in-service opportunities for those that are already in the field of teaching in order to give them the updated research on how to take a more active role in addressing these situations for the future (Paksuniemi).
Moreover, Finland continues to research for more up to date ways to help them stay on top. Every four years they look at the changes that are made to their society such as economic needs and the ever so changing demographics of the country. They use this information to adapt their educational...