The Ministry of Education announced Thursday an improvement in standardized Meitzav exam scores, which measure achievements in science, math, mother tongue and English.
However, despite an upbeat press conference held by officials, large gaps where found between children from different socioeconomic backgrounds. The largest gap was identified in 8th grade math and English scores.
The gaps included a 50-point difference in 5th grade science and technology scores and a gap of 67 points in Hebrew. In the 8th grade, the gap increased to 72 points in English and 104 points in math.
However, a gradual improvement was measured in science and technology over the past three years in all schools. Achievements have increased consistently from 2008 to 2010 amongst Hebrew speakers, whereas this trend is not consistent amongst Arabic speakers – their scores decreased in 2009 and increased in 2010.
The exams also measured gaps between males and females. Girls tested higher than boys in science, technology and English amongst 8th graders. No gap was found in math in the 8th grade, though in the 5th grade boys scored higher than girls.
"An encouraging trend"
Professor Michal Beller, who heads the authority in charge of teh exams, said: "Just like last year, the scores continue to be positive in almost all fields - In mother tongue, math, science, English and technology."
Education Minister Gideon Sa'ar said the data proves that the goal of improving achievements has been met. According to the minister, a significant improvement has been made in the fields of science, math and language: "These scores are good and encouraging", he said.
Sa'ar added that "the goal was to increase achievements all around. We can talk about an ongoing progression in almost all fields. I believe that we will also see improvement in the international exams this May".
The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) published a harsh report several months ago regarding the education system in Israel. The report, which referred to 2007-2008, noted that the average investment per student in Israel increased only by 8% between the years 1995 to 2007, compared to the 42% average increase in other OECD countries.
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