Pasi Sahlberg: Finnish Teachers Are Not “the Best and the Brightest”

Diane Ravitch's blog

Pasi Sahlberg, the great Finnish educator who is teaching this year at Harvard Graduate School of Education, wrote recently to explain how Finnish universities select future teachers.

Finnish universities are famously selective,accepting only 10% of the high school graduates who want to become teachers. But how do they select? Sahlberg’s very bright niece was turned down when she first applied.

So what is the selection process?

Sahlberg writes:

“Who exactly are those who were chosen to become primary teachers in Finland ahead of my niece? Let’s take closer look at the academic profile of the first-year cohort selected at the University of Helsinki. The entrance test has two phases. All students must first take a national written test. The best performers in this are invited on to the second phase, to take the university’s specific aptitude test. At the University of Helsinki, 60% of the accepted 120 students were selected…

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