Finland Sucks

Actually, I don’t really think so.  But if I were Diane Ravitch and looked at the trend in PISA for Finland as she looked at the trend in NAEP for New York City, I would see that Finland has declined in reading, math, and science.  And then I would (wrongly) conclude that Finland sucks and is doing things all wrong.

Table 5.1 Finland’s mean scores on reading, mathematics and science scales in PISA (p. 118)

PISA 2000 PISA 2003 PISA 2006 PISA 2009
Mean score Mean score Mean score Mean score
Reading 546 543 547 536
Mathematics 544 548 541
Science 563 554

Or perhaps if I really wanted to be like Diane Ravitch I would switch from looking at trends to levels of achievement, like when she looks at Massachusetts.  In that case, I would still think Finland is great and doing everything right.

Or maybe I could be like Diane Ravitch and switch to a different test that produced results more to my liking, like when Diane stopped paying attention to NAEP for New York City when it showed significant gains and started focusing instead on problems in the state test measures.

That’s the problem with being a manipulative propagandist.  It’s so hard to keep your story straight from one deception to another.

9 Responses to Finland Sucks

  1. Ze'ev Wurman says:

    That was really mean. Your exasperation shows!

  2. MOMwithAbrain says:

    You seem to be assuming, the PISA is a good indicator of math proficiency.

  3. MOM — Ravitch does when she cites Finland as great.

    Ze’ev — It’s only mean if it is untrue. What have I said that is untrue? And yes, she is exasperating.

  4. Greg Forster says:

    Of course it’s mean, Jay – it says right there on the table that they’re “mean scores.”

  5. Erik Syring says:

    Finland, importantly, placed 11th in percentage of students at level 6 in mathematics.

  6. Florida Speaks says:

    Or you could win national honors like Diane Ravitch!
    She was awarded the Moynihan Award recently and another is soon to be announced.

  7. Erik Syring says:

    Finland in the International Mathematical Olympiad in the last ten years: #72,#67,#74,#61,#39,#55,#63,#55,#38,#63.

    A country doesn’t have to have a really good math ed system in order to do very well at the 99.99(9)% level (elite students can excel in spite of the system). But those who do have a really good system always do well also at the ultra-elite level. So had Finland provided deep math education then the country, with its very small population, would have placed ~#25 (like Singapore).

  8. Cookie says:

    A group of stunning suburban moms did a survey and consensus was that Finland is too small too odd and too far away to care what their math scores are. New Jersey is crushing Finland in every way including sandwich variety and musical genius’ born there and the abject irrelevance in comparing the USA to them in anything other than sweater making is nattering nabobism of the highest order. Oh and New Jersey said to say bite me to Finland.

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