PISA measures learning/skills/knowledge. Finland is still 8th even if we’re slipping (which is worrying). However, scale the results with the amount of work (school + homework) students put in and Finland likely comes out at the top by a huge margin. We have short school days and only a little homework and we start school the year we turn 7. In the current top countries school starts when you’re 5, the days are longer, the amount of homework multiplied and many many parents amplify their kids learning with extra cram schools or private tutors. I say Finnish kids get the better return on their invested time (and their parents money).

University rankings are usually based on 1. the number of publications in scientific journals, 2. the number of citations those papers get and 3. the number of Nobel prizes awarded to researchers in the university through the years. In contrast to PISA, learning outcomes for the students generally play no role in university rankings (there are exceptions to this and in those rankings Finnish universities do better despite the comparative lack of teaching resources). This means that the more research you do, the higher you are, i.e. the more professors and PhD students you hire the higher you are, i.e. the correlation between money and ranking is strong. It also means a university has no chances at the top no matter how good it is unless it has the two most industriously publishing disciplines: medicine and chemistry.Upvote·20Reply

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Robert NewhouserFebruary 10

PISA rankings counts much more than if a country has a handful of world class universities! United States performance on PISA which measures AVERAGE reading, math and science skills are shameful and below most industrialized countries! Finland indeed scored high. The average matters more than the number of Harvards, MITs and Yales a contry has. The US has a very decentralized education system down to thousands of independent districts where taxpayers only focus on funding their own children. You’re in a rich district, get a good education. If you’re in a poor one, good luck! Many European countries centralize education at the national level or the state level. US education is an embarrassment given its wealth!