The assessment of learning outcomes, conducted by the Finnish Education Evaluation Centre (FINEEC), produced mainly positive results with regard to Espoo schools. The learning outcomes in Espoo comprehensive schools and upper secondary schools were once again better than the national average.
For example, Espoo’s outcomes in the assessment of 7th grade English and 9th grade mother tongue were better than the national outcomes, based on almost all of the indicators. The final assessment of mother tongue and literature also indicated that the pupils’ competencies were, on average, well in line with the grade they received in the final assessment. The students of Espoo upper secondary schools also did well in the matriculation examinations. In the spring of 2019, the grade point average for the compulsory tests was significantly higher in Espoo than in the other municipalities in the capital region or in the whole country on average.
Guardians are satisfied with schools
The school health survey showed that pupils have good communication with their guardians, and guardians support their children in school-related and other matters. According to the survey conducted among the guardians of pupils in comprehensive schools, collaboration between home and school is good, and guardians are satisfied with their children’s schools. Guardians are also satisfied with general upper secondary education, and both students and guardians consider general upper secondary education important. Most students and guardians have a positive view of the social atmosphere in upper secondary schools.
Children’s literacy is deteriorating
The assessment report confirms that literacy among children and young people is deteriorating. The City of Espoo has taken various measures to promote literacy. During the current school year, one of the priorities for Espoo schools is to promote reading. Read this news article (in Finnish) about Friisilän koulu’s efforts to encourage pupils to read.
The PISA 2018 survey focused on literacy. Conducted every three years, the survey showed that Finnish 15-year-olds’ performance in terms of literacy was among the top OECD countries. In Finland, the number of excellent readers has remained good, but the proportion of weak readers has increased. The municipality-specific PISA results will be available in early 2020.
“It is important to remember that a large number of pupils are excellent readers. The concern for deteriorating literacy does not apply to everyone. However, technical literacy among boys in particular is deteriorating rapidly, and the number of those whose literacy as a whole is weak or very weak is increasing. It seems that more efforts are needed to bring pupils’ literacy to a sufficient level and to keep it there,” says Coordinator Teea Kankaanpää from the City of Espoo’s Finnish Education Unit.
Well-being results give cause for joy and concern
The well-being results also give cause for both joy and concern. Many of the concerns relate to the emotional challenges faced by girls: anxiety, depression, a sense of not belonging to a group and difficulties with learning skills. In reality, girls’ competencies are as good as or better than boys’ competencies.
The joys are to do with the fact that most pupils are satisfied with their lives and enjoy going to school. They have friends at school, they feel safe at school and, according to various surveys, there is not much bullying in schools. The use of intoxicating substances has decreased. Children and young people get along with their teachers and get help with learning. The physical capacity of pupils is mainly good, better than the national average based on several indicators.
How are learning outcomes assessed?
Learning outcomes are presented, for example, with the help of the ALLU reading test and several FINEEC assessments of learning outcomes. The well-being and inclusion of pupils is assessed through a pupil survey as well as a school health survey, the Hyvinvointikartta (“well-being map”) service and MOVE! measurements. In addition, the report presents indicators relating to the school environment and information about the achievement of the objectives, Kunta10 survey results, survey results related to secondary school guidance counselling and the transition to upper secondary education, results of the assessment of general upper secondary education and statistics and indicators related to general upper secondary education.
Director of the Finnish Education Unit