Tag Archives: upper secondary

When You Have Only One National Test in Your Life, Why Not Start Preparing for It in Style?


Soon-to-be graduates starting their exam preparation month by driving around on a truck while throwing candy to spectators

One distinctive feature about Finnish education is the lack of standardized national tests. The first national test for roughly half of the population is the matriculation examination at the end of upper secondary, approximately at the age of 18-19.

Today (February 16th) is the day when the class of 2017 starts preparing for the exams. In about one month they return to their schools and start taking the tests one day at the time: mathematics, English, humanities, etc. By the end of March they are done and then nervously wait for results, which are due some time in May.

However, studying is for later. Today is about having fun. Festivities (in Finnish called “penkkarit”) started already around noon by driving around town on a truck in funny costumes while throwing candy to passers-by. Then the party continues through the day (and night).

Testing is nothing new to these soon-to-be graduates. They have been taking tests since the very early grades in primary education. It is a common misconception of Finnish education that there are no tests. On the contrary, teachers assess their classes all the time with tests of various kinds.

The important thing is that normally tests are not mandated nor standardized. The teachers just choose to utilize them because they are good teaching tools. They naturally help in assessment and giving grades. In addition, and as importantly, they are good for the actual learning.

For video footage of penkkarit through the years, check here.

Flickr image CC credits: strandhe


GeekIt Wins #SLL2014 in Finland

The first ever Sanoma Learning Lab is drawing to a close. However, the most interesting and intensive part of the program is still ahead: the bootcamp. Next week the five best teams – one from each Sanoma Learning country – will travel to Amsterdam for a four day stint of hard work on their ideas.

The lucky teams are Tuto from The Netherlands, Science Stew from Sweden, TeamUp from Poland, and Readit from Belgium. And of course GeekIt from Finland! Have a look at GeekIt’s quick pitch video:

GeekIt did a great job of validating their idea along the way. They proposed the idea of upper secondary students helping each other on Facebook. What ended up happening was that the students themselves formed the FB group for doing this. So there is clearly a market demand.

Now at the bootcamp GeekIt has the chance to create a prototype of their idea, going beyond what some FB group can offer. Looking forward to see next Thursday what it has evolved to!

The runner-up in Finland was MovEd. MovEd is addressing another very important phenomenon, namely children these days sitting still too much and not getting enough exercise.