Education survey finds Israel lags behind

Despite below-average placement compared to other developed countries, 90% of Israeli students are ‘happy at school’

Students taking their matriculation exams in a classroom on March 06, 2004 (photo credit: Flash90)
Students taking their matriculation exams in a classroom on March 06, 2004 (photo credit: Flash90)

A new international study released Tuesday found that Israeli education has improved in recent years but still lags behind most developed countries.

The Program for International Student Assessment, commissioned by the OECD (the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) every three years, has more than 500,000 teenagers in 65 participating countries (including the OECD member countries) take standardized tests in mathematics, reading and science to determine their knowledge level.

The latest results show that out of 64 countries, Israel comes in below average at 40th place in math and science and 33rd place in reading, despite a slight recorded increase in test scores since 2009, the last year the survey was conducted.

Israeli teenagers scored below the OECD average with 466 in mathematics, 470 in science and 486 in reading, compared to the OECD averages of 494, 501 and 496, respectively. 

The study found that Israel had both “a mean performance/share of top performers below the OECD average” and “a share of low achievers above the OECD average,” suggesting there is a large number of below-average students and a smaller number of high achievers. For example in mathematics, the study found that 33.5 percent of students in Israeli were “low-achievers,” but only 9.4% were “high-achievers.”

At least students in the Jewish state profess to enjoy themselves. Almost 90% of Israeli students said that they were “happy at school,” far above the average results and 10th place overall.

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