Koreans achieve, despite schools

Korean students are high achievers “not because of Korea’s schools, but often despite them,” writes Michael Horn in Forbes.

Teachers lecture, while students sleep.

Students spend long hours studying after school, then go to private hagwons for their “real” learning.

. . . if public education remained widely and freely available but not compulsory, many middle- and upper-class parents would stop sending their students to their current schools and instead send them to hagwons for what is often a truly customized and personalized—but quite expensive—learning experience.

That might trigger attempts to customize education in the public schools, writes Horn.

Korea (and Japan) have super-high scores on OECD’s creative problem-solving exam, writes Brandon Wright on Flypaper. There is a “strong, positive correlation between creative problem-solving performance and straightforward, traditional, familiar (if often bleak) math, science, and reading scores,” he writes. “Subject scores seem to buttress problem-solving skills—or at least to originate from the same source, sort of like twins.”

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  1. That’s pretty much what my Korean SIL says. The schools aren’t all that good, but absolutely everyone goes to the hagwons, where they do all the real work.

    • It sounds like the Obama administration is making a mistake we make here too–thinking that high scores are always due to schools, when quite a lot of the time after-school studies are what does it.

  2. The average IQ of the South Korean population is 107-108. End of story.

  3. Elizabeth says:

    So, if one practices (studies) most of their waking hours, one attains proficiency. Makes sense.