Finland’s “Culture of Trust” and Our Culture of Testing

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Diane Ravitch’s Blog

As the Hechinger Report explains, Finland doesn’t give standardized tests, yet its students excel on the international standardized tests. Finland has this idea deeply grounded in its education system: it trusts its teachers to make their own tests and to decide how well students are doing.

By contrast, we trust no one and test everyone.

We waste billions of dollars on testing even as budgets are cut, teachers are laid off and class sizes grow. Worse, we waste a large number of weeks of instruction on testing and preparing to take tests. Kids are practicing to satisfy Pearson instead of learning new skills and knowledge.

Will our leaders ever come to their senses? Probably not until millions of parents withhold their child from the testing machine. Probably not until thousands of superintendents and principals speak out. Probably not until thousands of school boards say no.

Probably not until entire school districts refuse to give the tests or refuse to send the results to the state.