A Global Perspective on Testing- Guest post

A Look at Final Exams around the World

With final exams right around the corner, we decided to take a step back from stressing about tests to learn more about education in other countries.

Finland and South Korea are two countries whose students perform strongly in global tests, but are substantially different from the United States and have very different perspectives on the role of exams in learning.

Finnish students have little homework, short school days and tons of playtime. South Korean students study non-stop, more than kids in any other country in the world, and their education is very test-driven.

Here is a look at some of the highlights of these 2 High Performing School Systems:


•Finland’s school system has consistently scored at or close to the top in international test rankings. Finland has short school days that are filled with school sponsored extracurricular activities because they believe the most important learning happens outside the classroom.

•A third of the classes that Finnish high school students take are electives, and the education system is seen as a low-stress culture that values a wide variety of learning experiences.

•Instead of taking numerous standardized tests, like students in America do, Finnish students only take one standardized test given at the end of high school which measures students’ overall academic maturity and readiness to continue a university education.

•The exam often covers controversial topics and asks students to show their ability to cope with issues related to political issues, violence, drugs, dieting, and war.

South Korea

•South Korean parents make their children’s education the family’s undisputed priority. Parents, teachers, family, and the entire environment surrounding students are focused on making sure the child succeeds in school. The emphasis is so vigorous that 93% of South Korean students graduate from high school on time.

•Education is so important in South Korea that parents spend $15 billion dollars every year on private education. After a typical eight-hour day at normal school, most students spend five more hours at “hagwon”, or private school academies.

•South Korea has an enormous entrance exam that students take to get into college and the pressure to succeed on this test starts when the kids are only three or four years old. From a very young age students are fixated on this eight-hour exam, which serves as the primary reason for such an intense school schedule.

As the Fall Semester comes to a close and exams approach, Apollo Tutors can help your child finish the semester strongly.

Working with a tutor can help synthesize information from throughout the semester and fill in gaps in their understanding to achieve their academic goals.

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