Academic journal article Phi Delta Kappan

Education Leaders: Finland and South Korea

Academic journal article Phi Delta Kappan

Education Leaders: Finland and South Korea

Article excerpt

A notebook of short but worthy items

Finland and South Korea emerge as the clear education superpowers in a new Global Index of Cognitive Skills and Educational Attainment.

The two countries were identified by examining 50 nations using the results of international tests (PISA, PIRLS, and TIMSS) in math, reading, and science along with data about educational attainment.

"In some ways, it is hard to imagine two more different systems: (South Korea) is frequently characterized as test-driven and rigid, with students putting in extraordinary work time; the Finnish system is much more relaxed and flexible. Closer examination, though, shows that both countries develop high-quality teachers, value accountability, and have a moral mission that underlies education efforts," said a press release about the new Learning Curve project supported by Pearson (, an education company that provides materials, technologies, assessments, and services to teachers and students.

The experts analyzing the data concluded that:

* Income matters, but culture may matter more. More important than money is the level of support for education in the surrounding culture. While there is no doubt that money invested in education reaps rewards, cultural change around education and ambition is equally, if not more, important than income in promoting better educational outcomes. …

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