PISA: Israeli schoolchildren improving, but below OECD average

The PISA exam shows substantial gaps between Hebrew and Arabic-speaking pupils.

The National Authority for Measurement and Evaluation in Education today published the results of the OECD's Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) tests for 2012. The average score of Israeli pupils is lower than average score among OECD member states. 65 countries, including all 34 OECD member states participated in the 2012 PISA exam. In math and science, Israel ranked 40th, but in reading comprehension, Hebrew-speaking Israelis were above the OECD average.

The general multiyear trend is positive, and puts Israel among the countries with the greatest improvement. Israel rose from 36th place in reading comprehension in the 2009 exam to 33rd place in the 2012 exam, behind Latvia, Estonia, and Poland, but ahead of Sweden, Russia, Greece, and Jordan.

The PISA exam shows substantial gaps between Hebrew and Arabic-speaking pupils. In the math exam, Hebrew speakers achieved a score of 489 points, while Arabic speakers achieved a score of 388 points. Arabic speakers scored 98 points less than Hebrew speakers in the science exam.

The digital reading exam also showed wide differences: 77% of Arabic speakers were classified as having reading difficulties on computers, compared with 18% of Hebrew speakers. 8% of Hebrew speakers were classified as outstanding in digital reading, compared with 0% of Arabic speakers.

The proportion of Israeli pupils classified as outstanding in math rose by 3 percentage points from the 2009 exam to 9% in the 2012 exam. There was a 2-percentage point improvement in the proportion of outstanding pupils in science exam and a 3-percentage point increase in outstanding pupils in the reading exam.

"The data show a steady improvement in all fields: math, reading, and science," says Ministry of Education director general Michal Cohen. "There has been steady, but insufficient improvement. We're still below the OECD average."

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on December 3, 2013

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2013

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