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I knew very little about Finland, other than the fact that the country has outstanding PISA scores.
This, in turn, reduces teachers' stress levels and makes the teachers in Finland feel respected.The Finnish education system is founded on the concept of trust, with a national curriculum much broader than Common Core or our state standards.When I first saw the Finnish standard: "Students will develop their reading and writing skills," I thought, 'how can one possibly measure this standard?By guest blogger Shannon Frank It was June 2015, and I was about to become a statistic, a cliché—I was about to become a burned-out teacher.Throughout the 2014-2015 school year, my fourth year of teaching, I had put in more hours than I could count grading persuasive essays late into the night, coming before school for extra-credit literature circles, staying after school for intervention. Then, my school got back student scores from the state standardized test, and the results were not as good as I expected. Despite all my hard work, and all my students' hard work, some of them were just not where they needed to be according to the exam—I felt like I had failed them. That summer, I had been awarded a scholarship from Asia Society to take a trip to Finland and Switzerland with EF Tours.On the trip, I met teachers, principals, superintendents, and professors from all across America who are passionate about improving education for the better.
The level of discourse was invigorating for me, a relatively young and inexperienced teacher.' Measurement, however, is not the goal of the Finnish educational system according to the Finnish educators we spoke with.They do not wish to gather data points for every student's success on a certain skill, they told us, because they trust their educators to know their students.The standards and exams imply that the state does not trust districts to do an adequate job educating students and relies on the state test to ensure compliance.The district then provides mandatory benchmarks, implying that they do not trust that the students will have success on the state exam or that the principals can run their schools adequately.For example in 2014, no natural snowdrifts formed in Saimaa, and more than 240 man-made snowdrifts were constructed to serve as nest-building places.