Shadows under the North Star
The inequality developing in Finnish school education
Nyckelord:EDUCATIONAL EQUALITY, EQUAL OPPORTUNITY, BASIC EDUCATION, ASSESSMENT, LEARNING OUTCOMES
In Finland, the National Core Curriculum for Basic Education is supposed to ensure equal opportunity for enrollment to upper secondary education by defining the learning objectives for each school subject at the end of basic education. The first nine years of education in Finland are described locally as ‘basic education’. Having equal learning opportunity as the leading ideal of educational equity implies that no statistically significant differences should prevail between groups, such as genders or regions. This study sets out to map the fulfilment of equality via two research questions: How do learning outcomes at the end of basic education vary across certain background variables in three school subjects, and what is the size of between-school-variation in learning outcomes of students at Finnish- and Swedish-language of instruction schools. The results show that educational equality is not uniform across school subjects and schools. Learning outcomes in social studies, mathematics and English (advanced syllabus) vary according to gender, parents’ educational level and the language of instruction. However, the between-school variation, although small in general, differs only slightly between Finnish- and Swedish- language of instruction schools.