(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
“Schools are not grading machines but rather greenhouses of values,” Education Minister Naftali Bennett said on Monday.
Speaking at a press conference at the Education Ministry in Jerusalem, he presented an inaugural “national educational picture” of the state of high schools in the country and laid out new, broader criteria used in measuring school achievements.
“Measurements do not contradict values, they are a tool for growth and improvement,” Bennett said. “If you only measure successes and eligibility, you miss the values, the insistence on every student, the education of helping others, and we are changing that today.”
To date the ministry only took into account students’ eligibility for matriculation certificates as a basis for evaluation of schools. However, the new measurements take into account a broader range of criteria under four pillars: values and the educational climate, dropout rates and perseverance, educational staff, and educational achievements.
According to the ministry’s findings, with regard to educational achievements, this past year saw a 3.3% increase in the number of students eligible for a matriculation certificate, from 52.7% in 2013/14 to 56% in 2014/15.
There was also an increase in the number of 12th graders eligible for a matriculation certificate of excellence, 7.1% this past year compared to 6.5% the previous year.
There was also an improvement of some 0.9% in the number of eligible students taking the five unit (highest level) mathematics matriculation exam, from 9.5% in 2013/14 to 10.4% in 2014/15.
Similarly, there was a 1.3% increase in the number of students eligible for the five unit English matriculation exam, from 20.6% in 2013/14 to 31.9% in 2014/15.
The ministry also found that there was a decrease among student reports of violent incidents from eight percent in 2013/14 to seven percent last year. However, the ministry revealed that there was an increase in the rate of dropouts from 1.2% in 2013/14 to 1/4% in 2014/15.
With regard to social involvement, 54% of students reported that their schools tried to encourage social involvement, up from 41% the previous year.
In addition, 72% of students reported that their school aimed to promote tolerance of the other – a new criterion introduced this year.
However, with regards to the educational staff, 42% of students reported on rapport and caring between teachers and students, down one percent from the previous year.
Education Ministry director-general Michal Cohen also noted that the educational picture was formulated in cooperation with local authorities, principals, teachers, students and parents to present the broadest measurement of the education system.