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* Bracey's Points

Posted By: Susan Williams on February 24, 2012
Refer you to Gerald Bracey's research in the 1990s which exposed the hidden "competitive edge" of Finland's schools: the Finnish language is eentsy weentsy compared to the English language. We have far, far more vocabulary words than they do.

So when a standardized test is internationalized -- translated into Finnish, in this case -- it gets really easy for the Finnish kids. They "look good on paper." But they're really not outdoing us.

Bracey used the example of an international test question in which students were to tell whether these two words are synonyms or antonyms: pessimistic and sanguine. Only 50% of Americans got that right. But 98% of Finnish kids did. Oh! Are they that much smarter? Are their schools that much better? Noooooo. Finnish has no equivalent for the word "sanguine," so the word substituted for it was a dead giveaway -- "optimistic." Duhhhh!

Don't get sucked in by these games. Listen to the parents, taxpayers and employers in your own country, and you'll have PLENTY of information on how American schools can, and should, get better and more cost-effective. :>)
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 Bracey's Points by Susan Williams on February 24, 2012  * 
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