Why Finland is Leading the UK in Key Education Outcomes

Written By Alla Levin
July 07, 2022

Why Finland is Leading the UK in Key Education Outcomes

The education system in Finland is far different from that in the UK. This has resulted in students in Finland outperforming their counterparts in the UK, especially in regards to benchmark testing as well as both wellbeing and life satisfaction.

So, what can schools in the UK learn from their Finnish counterparts and how can this increase the results in benchmark testing in the UK?

How Does The Education System In Finland Differ From That In The UK?

In Finland schools, there are no end-of-year exams for school leavers and no league tables. Finnish students are entirely assessed by their individual teachers. These teachers have full autonomy to assess their students based on classroom performance.

The education system in Finland is based on three major competencies – communication, collaboration, and conceptualization. This has allowed teachers to better understand their students and to work out how to provide them with an enriched learning experience that encompasses everyone’s ability.

Ultimately, this fosters a sense of inclusiveness in the classroom with students taking ownership of their own learning and has resulted in them reaching much better results in the benchmark testing that they undertake.

Contrary to this, the UK education system focuses on coercion, competition, and cramming. The latter may help to get better exam results but is unlikely to set students up for success in the real world. In many instances, cramming for exams does not allow students to retain the knowledge that they’ve acquired for the long term.

Why A More Rounded Education Sets Students Up For Life

When students are ready to leave school and head into the workforce, they’ll be presented with all sorts of challenges and problems that need to be solved with logical thinking.

Therefore, a fully rounded education, where students are allowed to openly communicate and collaborate within the classroom, gives them a better grounding for solving real-world problems once they leave the school system.

End-of-year exams, such as those required within the UK system, don’t allow for this kind of free-thinking. However, following the Finnish system where communication and collaboration are encouraged, is a much better way to encourage students to think for themselves.

Better Benchmark Testing Results Could Be Achieved By UK Students

If the UK education system had a closer look at the Finnish system, it could lead to a change in how education is delivered. While radical changes to the system will most likely take years to implement, even small changes in the way the system works could have positive results.

Even a small step toward more independent thinking in the classroom could make great progress toward students being more engaged in their learning, rather than just memorizing what they learn so that they can pass their exams.

Why Finland is Leading the UK in Key Education Outcomes: In Summary

It’s no secret that students in Finland outperform their UK counterparts in benchmark testing in the major subjects of mathematics, reading, and science. This is because the Finnish education system is far different from that in the UK.

In Finland, assessments are carried out by teachers rather than the end-of-year exams. This helps these educators consider the abilities of all of their students and makes for a much better inclusive learning experience.

Ultimately, this helps to set students up for long-term success both in university education and in the workforce.

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