Finland

You're so sadly neglected And often ignored A poor second to Belgium When going abroad Finland, Finland, Finland The country where I quite want to be

Recent spat of blog posts about BBC story on Finland's school system, including here and here.

Why do they seem to top out on international tests? Rorschach. You can choose from the following:

They have shorter school day and don't start til age 7. Lots of teacher-parent communication. Homogeneous student body. Relaxed school culture. Teaching is esteemed (though pay is equal to USA).

I think this is relevant:

"Only 10 percent to 12 percent of college students who apply to Finnish teacher-education programs are accepted, and unlike in the United States, they tend to come from the top of their class."

And perhaps this.