Honors Theses


Kathryn Kinnucan-Welsch, Ed.D.


Teacher Education

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Honors Thesis


International assessments have drawn attention to discrepancies in student achievement scores between countries. Due to the relatively new 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 educational systems. As the United States continuously ranks at or slightly above or below average on the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) 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. The goal of this honors thesis is to identify specific approaches for improving the American educational system in order to provide every student with a quality education. This thesis reviews literature relating to comparative education, numerical data relating to the context (politically, demographically, and economically) and education structure in each country, and the respective educational programs under review in each country. The literature review addresses key components of success, which are further explored through data collection, including interviews, government documents, universities’ curricula, and more. An analysis of the components of the two educational systems will lead the researcher to produce a guide identifying where and what to modify in the American programs based on key components of the Finnish programs.

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