The United States' Deteriorating Education System Essay

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Despite recent attempts to reform, there is no question that the United States' education system is falling behind the education systems of other developed nations. The Programme for International Student Assessment, also known as PISA, is an international organization which measures performance of high school students throughout the world (United States, Highlights from PISA iii), and the results of its most recent series of examinations have shown that high school students in the United States are desperately trailing behind their peers in the rest of the developed world (United States, Highlights from PISA 12). Recent initiatives such as the No Child Left Behind Act have attempted to improve the state of our deteriorating education…show more content…
Finland, for example, requires a grueling matriculation exam in order to pass high school, composed of one native language test and three other tests chosen by the test taker, in a broad range of subjects such as physics, philosophy, history, foreign languages and mathematics exams of varying difficulty (Finland). Results from the matriculation exams determine the student's prospects for postsecondary education, which is free for Finnish citizens (Gamerman). One consequence of Finland's intense matriculation exams is that students arrive at universities fully prepared for their studies, and students who do not wish to continue on into college have sufficient preparation for a career. Japan, on the other hand, has an entirely different method of encouraging its students to perform well in school. Rather than a comprehensive high school exit exam, Japanese universities each have their own uniquely arduous entrance exams, (Okano and Tsuchiya 114). The exams are highly competitive, so there is great pressure on the student to perform well in order to get into the university of the student's choosing. High schools in Japan help to prepare students for university entrance exams, and juku, or "cram schools" are another popular method of preparing for the exams (Okano and Tsuchiya 60). By putting a great deal of responsibility on the student, the Japanese system encourages students to achieve on their own by preparing for entrance
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