What American Schools Can Learn from Schools Around the World

Opinion

Jayla DiNolfi, Staff Writer

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American kids put a lot of work and effort into trying to have the best grades and test scores. Although we get stressed with a ton of homework and have to study for tests almost every night, we still try out hardest to maintain our grades. So here is a list of some other countries and things they do to make their education system so successful. 

According to an article in the Independent, Finland has one of the best education systems, yet it does not use rankings, comparisons or competition between students, schools or regions. So, this means there are no AP or weighted honor classes. This can be beneficial so that everyone who is the same age can learn at the same rate and at a young age don’t have any students so advanced that they have added stress.

For example, and American ninth-grader taking tenth or eleventh-grade classes can add a lot of stress on them because they would be dealing with more homework and pressure on them to pass the class. Although you do have a choice to be in weighted honor classes, it causes students to pay more attention to those classes than the rest of them/  Many students pick weighted classes because it is an advantage when it comes to being able to get into some of the best colleges. Evidence to prove why this works is because of 93% of Finland’s graduate from academic or vocational high schools. Which is 17.5% points higher than the United States. 

Finland’s teachers give relatively little homework and have only one mandatory test at age 16. Having a lot of homework to do can result in a lack of sleep, and cause students to be exhausted when it is time to go to school the next morning.  Having an excessive amount of homework can lead to lower test scores and even takes away family time. Research shows that students who average more than 100 minutes a day on homework, test scores start to decline. If we take a mandatory test at least once a year plus homework, we can risk our test grades decreasing, not only negatively reflecting on ourselves but on our school too. 

Switzerland gives its students a two-hour break in the middle of the school day. Children attend school from 8:30 am until 11:30 am and then from 13:30 pm until 16:00 pm (1:30 pm to 4:00 pm). In the United States, the school day varies but usually runs from 8 am to 3 pm or 3.30 pm. Going to school later could help students and boost academic performance. Plus, the break in the middle of the day can help the students get caught up on work and can get a little break between their classes. 

Belgium students usually do homework for an average of five hours and 40 minutes per week. While high school students in America spend anywhere from 1 hour to 3.5 hours a night on homework Currently, in my school, we have almost an hour of homework for each of my classes. This leads to American schools having way more homework than children in Belgium. Studies show that a lot of homework can negatively affect social skills and self-confidence. 

I don’t want to say everything with American education is wrong, but that doesn’t mean we cannot learn from other countries. These are all things we should consider changing or looking into. We all would like to have the best education possible because we want to have the best future we could possibly achieve by getting the best education at school.