The PISA study for 2022 was published today (Tuesday) and shows that the State of Israel has risen in the rankings, but not due to an increase in the achievements of local students in reading, math and science, but due to a sharp decline in student achievements in OECD countries.
The data also showed the familiar problems: economic, social, and cultural gaps in Israel have increased, especially in the area of mathematics, meaning that students from affluent homes will receive help, while students from disadvantaged homes whose parents cannot provide them with homework help or pay for private tutoring will perform poorly. The "Iron Swords" war, which causes children in many locations across the country to sit at home without school or help, will deepen the gaps even further.
In addition, this year as well, the gaps between Hebrew-speaking and Arabic-speaking students have increased, to the point that they can be translated into gaps of five years of schooling between the groups. In addition, the data also show a decline in girls' achievements in the state-religious education system, while Haredi girls lead in math and reading.
The PISA test, which was administered every three years among 15-year-olds, was postponed due to COVID-2022 and was actually conducted in 12. It examines literacy and comprehension in reading, math and science, each time emphasizing a specific subject, this time the emphasis was placed on mathematics and Hebrew-speaking Israeli students showed a decrease of 625 points. The comprehensive PISA study involved about 000,81 students from 6 countries, and in Israel about 250,193 students from <> schools participated, constituting a representative national sample.
School in Tel Aviv (archive), photo: Yehoshua Yosef
As noted, the study showed stability in the achievements of Israeli students in reading, math, and science compared to 2018, in contrast to sharp declines in student achievements in math and reading in OECD countries. In the ranking of participating countries, Israel rose from 37th place to 30th place in reading, and for the first time, Israel's achievements in this area are similar to the OECD average. In mathematics and science, there was a slight improvement in Israel's relative position (37th in science and 38th in mathematics), but the averages remained lower than the OECD averages.
In recent years, there has been an attempt in the education system to strive for equality in achievements between male and female students. However, the study showed declines in the average achievements of girls in Israel, especially in mathematics, where there was a decline of 15 points compared to 2018. The declines are particularly pronounced among girls studying in the State-religious education system (a decline of about 25 points in all three areas), and in Haredi education the declines are moderate.
In light of the changes, Haredi girls lead the achievements of girls in Israel in math and reading: in mathematics – their achievements are similar to the level of girls studying in the state education system, and in reading – their achievements are 12 points higher than them. In the sciences, Haredi girls' achievements are 9 points higher than those in the safe education system.
For years, the Ministry of Education has been trying to reduce gaps between Hebrew-speaking and Arabic-speaking students, but this time the study reveals that the gaps between them have narrowed slightly, but they are still very large. The narrowing of the gap stems, among other things, from a decline of 12 points in the achievements of Hebrew-speaking students in mathematics, and an increase of 11 points (which is not statistically significant) in the achievements of Arabic-speaking students in science. However, about two-thirds of Arabic-speaking pupils have difficulties in each of the areas examined, a rate more than twice as high as the OECD average.
Minister of Education Yoav Kish, Photo: Oren Ben Hakon
In all three disciplines – reading, math and science – Singapore took first place in the tables. Japan also stands out with second place in science and third place in reading, while in mathematics it came in only fifth place.
According to the report, from recent studies and according to the OECD report, the gap of 20 points is treated as equivalent to the knowledge acquired in one school year. If this is accepted, it means that the 100-point gap between Hebrew and Arabic speakers in math and science can be converted into about five years of schooling, while the gender gap between girls and boys in reading is equivalent to almost one school year among Hebrew speakers.
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