From The Chronicle of Higher Education:
In the 1960s, only a small percentage of Finnish students completed high school, and Finland ranked in the middle of developed countries on test scores. Forty years later, Finland had one of the highest percentages of high-school graduates in the world, and its students had the highest test scores in math and science. Many people have asked how Finland achieved this transformation, and how we can apply this model to other systems of education.
According to Pasi Sahlberg’s Finnish Lessons, there were five major components to Finland’s success: (1) all education became public and free; (2) teachers became well compensated and highly trained; (3) education became interactive and experienced-based; (4) students at an early age received individual attention; and (5) in high school, students were able to choose a vocational track or an academic track. It is my contention that we can apply to higher education in America many of the same educational reforms that were used in elementary and secondary education in Finland.