A new report by the Education Ministry reviewing Israeli students' performance in ther 2011-2012 school year was published Monday, showing the average scores have steadily slipped compared to previous years.
The average math scores of fifth-graders dropped from 549 points to 542 points (on a scale of 200-800 points) and science and technology scores slipped from 532 points to 528 points; but the average scores in English and Hebrew noted an improvement.
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The decrease in scores was even more significant among eight-graders: Their average Hebrew score slipped from 551 points to 539 points, English scores slipped from 523 points to 511 points and math scores slipped from 522 points to 501 points.
The performance index clearly showed that the existing socioeconomic-based gaps among eight graders have widened, driving rich and poor kids further apart.
However, the opposite data was noted among fifth-graders, rendering the gaps between them narrower.
The most evident improvement was noted on eight-graders' science and technology scores, which rose from 522 points to 541 points.
Education Minister Gideon Sa'ar said: "The performance index serves as an essential assessment tool, as well as a tool for supervision."
The minister also commented on the issue of cheating on the exams, saying it should be dealt with in the most serious way possible.
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