Research shows that chasing after perfect grades and high test scores increases student stress, discourages creativity and reduces academic risk-taking. While studies find hard-working, high-scoring students often do well in life, they appear less likely to become trailblazing visionaries. Finland consistently at or near the top in academic achievement – much higher than the U.S. Finland’s schools place much less emphasis on grades, class rankings and exams. For the first six years of school, students take no tests at all.
Class discussion: Do you measure your self-worth based on your grade-point average? Do all the standardized tests you are forced to take increase your anxiety about school? Do you feel you are being taught only to pass exams? Are you encouraged to ask questions and explore topics that will not show up on any test? Have you ever had a passion to just find out more about some subject regardless of whether it will raise your grades and test scores? Has the growing emphasis on standardized tests actually improved U.S. academic achievement?