December 3, 2013
There has been much talk about how Finland plummeted from its traditional top spot in the PISA scores, but:
- Finland was always only tops in white countries. Some Northeast Asians would typically beat the Finns.
- Finland is still #1 in white countries if you weight Math (519 for Finland), Science (545), and Reading (524) equally, for an overall score of 529, ahead of runner-up Estonia (526). This go-round of PISA emphasized Math, on which Finland came in fifth among white countries behind Liechtenstein, Switzerland, Netherlands, and Estonia.
Overall, though, across all three subjects, Finland was still #1 in Europe and its diaspora.
In contrast, the Scandinavian countries did not excel in 2012, with overall means of 498 for Denmark, 496 for oil-rich Norway, and 482 for Sweden. Among members of the OECD, the rich countries' club, Sweden beat only Israel, Slovakia, Greece, Turkey, Chile, and Mexico. (Some of those countries that Sweden edged out are in the rich countries' club only for "courtesy" or "aspirational" reasons.)