Learning and academic performance of students are largely influenced by their ability to concentrate on subjects. The attention level of individuals is based on the neurobiological structure of their brain, which is unique for each individual. For example, students diagnosed with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) cannot stay focused on their tasks, against their will. Their performance on tests is not usually the true representative of their knowledge and learning capacity. They might perform poorly on exams due to several distractions and lack of ability to follow the questions thoroughly. On the other hand, if they are interested in the topic or they can overcome the distractions, their performance will be boosted drastically. The traditional teaching and testing routine in schools are not effective for these students. An interactive teaching and assessment policy, however, can be more helpful to motivate these students and encourage them to improve their capabilities. The explanation of Dan Pink on the ineffectiveness of the reward on creativity and the role of passion in an individual’s performance reminded an ADHD daily life. As their work quality differs vastly if they are interested in the topic. According to the National Survey of Children’s Health (NSCH) data, the number of students diagnosed with ADHD has increased since 1997 (based on different testing criteria). Therefore, more students require a more effective education system annually.
Furthermore, I thought about the outcome of the improved education system in Finland as exampled by Ken Robinson. I found some documents about Finland’s education system (such as the attached video). According to this video, there is no special program for gifted students, who instead have to help the slower fellows. There is no private school, so everyone has equal attainment. Also, there is no national exam or stressful entrance exam for their acceptance to college. The other noticeable change in their system is almost no homework.
According to worldtop20 ranking, Finland has got the highest education ranking in 2017, where Japan and South Korea are second and third, respectively. However, the education system in Japan and South Korea are highly competitive with compact testing schedules. In Japan, students attend supplementary classes after school to get ready for the national exam and their acceptance in college depends on their grade on an annual exam.
According to the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), Finland’s students’ performance on reading, mathematics, and science in 2015 is below Japan. Hence, ranking results not necessarily reflect the effectiveness of education systems with less emphasis on assessment. Nevertheless, I thought it might be worthful to compare the quality of life of people in Japan and Finland.
In Human Development Index (HDI), which evaluates life expectancy, knowledge and education and standards of living, Finland and Japan are ranked 15th and 19th globally. Their improvement in this index is shown in the graph below. In World happiness index, which measures a wide range of parameters from economy to health and safety, Finland scores the best over the years 2015-2017, while Japan is ranked as 54th. The last quantitative factor which came to my mind to compare is Average IQ score or intelligence of these to countries. The average IQ of the Japanese is 105 in 2017, while the average IQ of the Finnish is 101, which increased from 99 in 2006.