Caroline Ann Goodill


This poster reflects research conducted as part of a course project designed to give students experience in the research process.



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International student achievement tests have articulated the problem of inequitable education systems around the world. Due to the relatively recent introduction of these tests, scholarly research on the subject has developed as the tests have produced more results. A shared goal of a majority of the research regarding international student achievement is to establish quality education systems. As the United States continuously ranks at or slightly above or below average on the PISA test over the past twelve years, Finland’s consistent success has drawn worldwide attention. For this reason, Finland is the educational system benchmark for this undergraduate thesis.Many authors and scholars have claimed there have been specific Finnish innovations developed in the past decade that directly contribute to Finland’s rise in international student achievement scores. Finland looked to foreign education systems, like Japan, the United States, England, and Sweden, when building and later reforming their own system. In order to help improve American education, it can be beneficial to identify and analyze the programs of the Finnish system that have proven to be successful. The research questions thus guiding this thesis are: What changes have been made in the educational system in Finland that have contributed to improving performance on international assessments? What changes have been made in the United States educational system that are similar to the changes that have been made in Finland? What are the factors contributing to the success of the changes in Finland that could be replicated in the United States?To date, the researcher has identified and begun research on Finland’s part-time special education system, the 9-year comprehensive education system, peruskoulu, and the universal structure of the university teacher education program as three innovations supporting Finland’s educational success. Further research and analysis will continue to evolve over the next two years.

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Kathryn A. Kinnucan-Welsch


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Arts and Humanities | Business | Education | Engineering | Life Sciences | Medicine and Health Sciences | Physical Sciences and Mathematics | Social and Behavioral Sciences

Research exercise: Comparative Education System Analysis Between Finland and the United States: A Case Study