Teachers to blame?
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Tamir: Steady progress
Photo: Yaron Brener

Israeli children failing math across the board

Meitzav exam tests level of elementary, junior high schools, finds range of grades in math, science, English to be well below average or failing; Education Ministry blames teachers

Israel's education system received its second dismal grade Tuesday as the results of the Meitzav exam were published. Particularly eye-opening results included the eighth grade average for science and technology (56.5) and math (44.1), as well as the fifth grade average for the same subjects (59.2).


The “Meitzav” exams, a Hebrew acronym for school growth and efficiency indicators, are standardized tests that are given to pupils countrywide at the end of the each school year.


They are meant to specify just how well Israeli elementary and junior high school pupils are meeting the benchmarks and standards specified in school curriculums.


Last year the results were similar, with a fifth grade math average of 56.9, a science and technology average of 68.8, and an English average of 72.5.


The exams found a consistent inclination for better averages among the Hebrew speaking population in comparison with the Arab speaking sector. It also found a difference between boys and girls: In fifth grade the boys' math average was higher, while in eighth grade girls did better on the math exam.


The Education Ministry contended that the low scores were a result of the constant striking in the junior high schools. Education Minister Yuli Tamir said, "The Meitzav teaches us that there is a process of gradual progression in elementary schools, and we hope it will continue.


"We don't believe in drastic leaps, but rather in measured progress. However in the junior highs the grades illuminate a crisis. I have been saying for a while that a reform must be made in the junior high schools, otherwise we won't be able to return the system to its proper place."


She blamed the teachers for the failing grades. "Our toughest problem is the improvement of the teachers' levels. Their professional training is our foremost priority," Tamir said.


פרסום ראשון: 12.09.08, 17:59
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