Israeli students’ math and science scores continue to rise

Israeli students’ math and science scores continue to rise

While scores jumped considerably in science and math, Hebrew and English either improved only slightly or remained essentially the same.

By: Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

Standardized “Meitzav” exams are given every three years in Israeli primary and junior high schools in science, Hebrew, math and English. The Ministry of Education presented on Wednesday the results of last year’s national tests – and the news is mixed, reported in Ynet.

For fifth graders, there was a five point rise in Hebrew and a slight, 3-point dip in English over the results three years ago. Their biggest improvement was in math, jumping 12 points (566 vs. 554). Among the eighth graders, Hebrew scores dipped a point while English improved by six, but their best jump by far was in science, leaping a full 23 points ahead (564 to 587).

This gratified Education Minister Naftali Bennett, who has stressed the great importance of getting more and more students interested and educated in the STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), which are crucial to today’s workplace.

“We are on the right path for every child to have a fair and equal opportunity in Israeli society,” he said upon presenting the test results.

The good news continued in showing that the gap was narrowing between Arabic and Hebrew-speaking students. In English and science, the point differential was cut almost in half amongst eighth graders, and the fifth graders also cut the gap in half for science while they are now almost exactly even in English.

At the same time, the gaps between pupils from high and low socio-economic classes either basically stayed the same in fifth grade (such as in Hebrew and math) or grew – in English, by 16 points. And with the young teenagers, the gap in math increased to 8 points (98 vs. 90), while perhaps even more worryingly, in science and technology the gap jumped by 15 points (89 versus 74).