According to the TIMSS, which examined the level of eight graders in math and sciences, Israeli students scored 516 points in math, well above the 467 point average, and 516 in science, above the 477 point average.
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However, while Jewish Israeli eighth graders scored 536 in math and 530 in science, their Arab counterparts scored 465 in math and 481 in science.
Minister Sa'ar presents the TIMSS and PIRLS results (Photo: Moti Kimchi)
Some 240,000 eighth graders from 42 countries took part in the 2011 TIMSS, among them 4,699 Israeli students from 151 schools. The test, conducted once every four years, saw Korea, Singapore and Taiwan take the top spots, with 613, 611 and 609 points respectively.
The PIRLS, conducted once every five years, examines reading literacy among fourth graders, including reading comprehension skills, self-perception and attitudes towards reading. The 2011 study examined the achievements of some 255,000 fourth graders from 45 countries, among them 4,186 Israeli students from 152 schools.
Education Minister Gideon Sa'ar expressed his satisfaction with the students' achievements, saying that the 2011 scores were highest Israel has achieved since it started participating in the international studies in the late 1990s: "The students of Israel have made the most significant progress," Sa'ar said.
"The improvement in achievements included all socioeconomic sectors," the minister noted, referring to the rise in the achievements of both Jewish and Arab students, adding that Israel has climbed from the 31st spot in the 2006 PIRLS to the 18th and from 24th spot in the 2007 TIMSS to seventh in the world.
"The rise is both in the Arab sector and the Jewish public," the education minister stressed. "Hebrew speakers are ranked among the 10 leading countries; 10th in science, seventh in math and second in reading, alongside Finland and Russia."
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