Educational excellence in a school or a nation is not only about statistical averages of student achievement

Educational excellence in a school or a nation is not only about statistical averages of
student achievement. It also entails the idea that all or most of the students regardless of
their abilities, family backgrounds, mother tongue or other characteristics, should enjoy
learning and succeed in school. But since we are all different, school systems ?nd meeting
this ideal dif?cult. Students who need more time to learn or have special needs related to
learning are often moved to special class or asked to repeat a grade instead of being helped
to progress with their peers. We answer the question in the title of this essay by using
Finland as an example of an education system that has moved from remedying learning
problems, i.e., using grade retention as a cure, to preventing learning dif?culties, and
relying on early intervention and individualized support to all students. This essay provides
therefore historical perspective to the evolution of policies regarding educational failure in
general and grade repetition in particular