What Finnish mathematicians think about PISA

Finland gets high praise for doing well on PISA but apparently Finnish mathematicians don't think too highly of the test. Here's what they have to say:

The PISA-survey leaves us, thus, with unanswered questions regarding many skills . . . [O]ne has to consider the possibility that the first place in the PISA study is a Pyrrhic victory: are the Finnish basic schools stressing too much numerical problems of the type emphasized in the PISA study, and are other countries, instead, stressing algebra, thus guaranteeing a better foundation for mathematical studies in upper secondary schools and in? universities and polytechnics.


The PISA survey provides us with useful information regarding the mathematical literacy needed in everyday life and the ability to solve simple problems. These skills are simply not enough in a world which uses and utilizes mathematics more and more.

Another reason to be jealous of the Finns?they call a spade a spade.

?Amber Winkler

Amber M. Northern, Ph.D.
Amber M. Northern, Ph.D. is a Senior Vice President for Research at the Thomas B. Fordham Institute