Happiness v Test Scores

Happines v test scores

So what’s most important? Happy pupils or good test scores?

We all want our children to be happy, but we all want our children to do well in tests and exams.  Are the two mutually exclusive? Or are the two mutually dependent: do happy children make good learners, and are successful learners happy because they enjoy their success?

Instead of thinking of your children (either your own offspring or those you teach) and ask the question of yourself:

Would you rather be happy or successful?

Of course, both success and happiness are hard to measure (accurately), but the above infographic plots pupil’s happiness v test score based on data from the OECD Pisa tests which are a three yearly attempt to measure education systems across the globe by testing a cohort of 15 year olds from each country in reading, mathematics and science.  The happiness score is a ranking based on the percentage of pupils who agreed with the statement “I feel happy at school” and the y-axis is the ranking of the test scores in the Pisa tests.

To the best of my knowledge, the infographic was created by Jake Levy, a data analysyt at BuzzFeed and the original infographic, and more, can be found here.

It raises more questions than it answers – what do you think? Does happiness trump test scores, or vice versa?

(And if you are looking for the UK, we are pretty much ‘middling’ – or median – on both measures)

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  1. SolutionLab
    Posted 25/01/2014 at 8:29 am | Permalink

    Thank you for your post.

    Also, I found this set of funny brainteasers here : http://www.careereducation.columbia.edu/brainteaser. Might be useful.

    • A Maths Teacher
      Posted 25/01/2014 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for that – a useful list of perennial puzzles, worth a visit.

  2. Solution
    Posted 30/01/2014 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

    An article in this week’s The Economist (http://www.economist.com/news/international/21595476-technology-and-fresh-ideas-are-replacing-classroom-drilland-helping-pupils-learn-time), on the debate between “hard learning” and “finger painting”.

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