In the 30 years since its inception the Psychometric Entrance Test (PET) has been used in determining whether a candidate will be admitted to the university or faculty of his choice.
The PET is a multiple choice test which examines the candidate's proficiency in mathematics, verbal reasoning and English. The candidate's PET score combined with his or hers high school matriculation scores comprise his university admission grade. This score is considered the best predictor of a candidate's academic success in his freshman year at the university.
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Over the years the test has garnered numerous critics, who claim it is biased in favor of candidates from an affluent socio-economical background. And yet to this day no one has come up with anything better.
Education Minister Gideon Sa'ar has decided to step up to the challenge. He intends to set up a committee of academia experts to examine possible alternatives to the PET in determining university admissions. Sa'ar doesn't rule out a continuation of the status quo in which each candidate's admission grade is comprised of his PET and high school matriculation scores.
Yet, the expert committee will see if Israel can adopt some of the university admission criteria used abroad. For example, in the US each university has its own criteria and some institutions demand that the candidate bring recommendations or write an essay in addition to taking the SAT, (the American equivalent of the PET).
In Austria, Switzerland and Germany, a high school matriculation will secure you a spot in any university faculty except medical school.
Speaking to high school principals, Sa'ar said, "In any case the high school matriculation tests will not be the sole admission criterion, as the differences between Israeli high schools may create inequality among the candidates."