43% of Jewish poor students failed understanding reading - 80% of Arab students at the lowest level


by Ifi Reporter Category:Government Jun 15, 2022

The results of the reading and reading comprehension tests conducted in the current school year among some 90,000 fourth-graders are very worrying. Despite the experience of the Ministry of Education, it is impossible to hold on to the corona crisis and the long closures as an excuse for the dismal situation.
The closures hurt students, as did the political upheavals, frequent changes of ministers, the lack of a state budget, and the general neglect of the field of education by previous governments. But the findings published today are reminiscent of the severity of those obtained in the international PISA tests conducted in 2018. They also testified to a catastrophe in the education system, as well as in terms of the reading skills of Israeli students, and huge gaps between Jewish and Arab students. The corona or the current crisis surrounding the shortage of teachers.

The problems discovered then and in previous years were not addressed at all. The Ministry of Education did not place special emphasis on the development of reading comprehension skills and reading skills, nor did it make any significant change in curricula - and the acute situation.
The quality of the education system is measured by the achievements of its weak students. In the current test, 43% of Jewish students from weak economic backgrounds failed, and 48% of all Arab students were rated at the lowest level in the Arabic test. In total, one in four Jewish students has difficulty understanding reading and more than 80% of Arab schools were rated at the lowest level when it comes to understanding reading in Arabic.
The education system is facing a shortage of teachers. According to the Central Bureau of Statistics, 73% of language teachers in primary schools did not meet the threshold requirements for language teaching and were not properly trained. This may be one of the reasons for the findings.
The alarming achievements in the test reflect not only the achievements of the students after the Corona crisis, but also their achievements after budget additions of tens of billions of shekels to the education system in recent years. Therefore, the next budget increase for the education system, as a result of wage agreements with teachers, must be done wisely. The education system emerges from the crisis without any changes in depth, in the curricula and in the way in which quality teachers are preserved and attracted.
If that is not enough, the results obtained in the test are skewed upwards, and it is likely that when it comes to students' reading and reading skills - in practice the situation in schools is worse. This is because the rate of participation in the test of students from weak economic backgrounds, new immigrants and students with special needs integrated into the regular classes - was particularly low.
Among students from low economic backgrounds, the participation rate was low and amounted to 70% compared to the participation rate of 84% among students from the highest class. Among new immigrants and integrated students, the participation rate was even lower: 53% among immigrants and 64% among integrated students.
In 2018 the Ministry of Education disqualified the PISA tests and announced their cancellation, after it was discovered that many principals had tried to skew the results upwards by filtering out the students who took part in the test. On the day of the exam.
The general average is tilted upwards once again because the achievements also do not reflect what is happening in the ultra-Orthodox schools. The test was conducted in only about a third of the ultra-Orthodox schools, and the actual number of participants could not be used for a representative sample, according to the Ministry of Education. None of the schools in the Independent Education Network - the largest education network in the ultra-Orthodox community, affiliated with the Torah Judaism Party - participated in the test.
In addition, in contrast to the results of the international PISA tests, which gave an average score to all Israeli students, the Ministry of Education chose to hold a different test for the Arab public and not translate the test prepared for Jewish students. Therefore, separate tests were needed.Because of the high failure rate in the Arab public, weighting their results and those of Jewish students together would significantly lower overall achievement, presenting an even less flattering picture to the education system.
Headquarters of the Ministry of Education in Jerusalem.
According to the test results, 61% of the Bedouin students, 48% of the Druze and 42% of the Arab public reached the lowest level in the test. In addition, 83% of schools in the Arab public were rated at the lowest level.
Even given the different biases, the test results indicate gaps in favor of established students and in favor of Jewish students - as is also the case in other tests. Among Jews from the highest economic background, 50% of the students were at the highest level, compared to 27% of the students with the lowest economic background. In addition, 19% of Jewish students in the highest background failed compared to 43% of students in the lowest background.
In total, in Jewish society, there were 119 points gaps between the achievements of the outstanding students and the achievements of the failing students. The Ministry of Education claimed that this is a very high gap.
However, additional gaps were discovered - both within the schools themselves - between students from different economic backgrounds and within the socio-economic clusters. For example, even in the lowest social cluster, a gap of 131 points was found in student achievement. 54% of students from low economic backgrounds were rated at the lowest level on the test, compared to 34% of students from the highest education backgrounds. Only 2% of Arab students with a low background excelled in the test, compared with 7% of students with a medium economic background.



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