Academic journal article Language Arts

The CCSS, Finland, and Teacher Professional Judgment

Academic journal article Language Arts

The CCSS, Finland, and Teacher Professional Judgment

Article excerpt

As I write, Finnish students have once again done well in international comparisons on PIRLS and TIMMS. Indeed, even before the latest results, a new state superintendent of schools told the Wash- ington Post that although education in Maryland is "really, really, really good . . . I want to make it the Finland of the United States." What does Finland's top performance have to do with the current push to implement the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) in the US? It turns out that one of the "Key Design Considerations" of the Standards for English language arts has some similarity to an important approach in Finnish education. This CCSS design consideration is "A focus on results rather than means." Specifically, "Teachers are thus free to pro- vide students with whatever tools and knowledge their professional judgment and experience identify as most helpful for meeting the goals set out in the Standards" (ELA standards, 2010, p. 4).

Such freedom to make appropriate decisions is something Finnish teachers can count on. In Finland, the national approach to curriculum is to broadly describe principles and activities, but to leave detailed curriculum implementation to teach- ers. …

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