Children in classroom.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
The high school matriculation exam season began on Thursday with the test in Biology and will end on July 13 with an exam in mathematics.
Some 220,000 students in the 11th and 12th grades are expected to take the matriculation exams across a wide variety of subjects, including mathematics, English, computer sciences, foreign languages and civics.
Education Minister Naftali Bennett addressed students on Thursday to encourage them and wish them success.
“Today you are entering a period of intense learning and quite a bit of tension,” he said.
“The best way I know to learn is together, to listen to a friend who knows and to teach others."
“Despite the stress and importance of the [matriculation] exams, remember that values, friendship and fun are no less important than grades,” he said.
Also on Thursday, the Cyber Education Center of the philanthropic Rashi Foundation released a study which found that female students spend more time studying for the matriculation exams in the fields of mathematics and computer sciences compared to their male counterparts and rely more on private tutoring, but have less confidence in their ability to succeed.
According to the findings, 44% of female students said they would spend more than a week studying for the exams in mathematics and computer sciences, compared to 31% of male students.
In contrast, 15% of female students said they would only study for a day or two ahead of the exam, compared to 24% of male students.
The survey also found that girls are twice as likely as boys to seek the assistance of private tutors – 30% and 15%, respectively.
Another significant difference is in their drive: While the majority in both genders reported self-motivation as the main factor, the percentage among girls was higher – 65% compared to 59%.
Furthermore, the survey showed a significant difference between the genders in their sense of capability.
As many as 58% of the boys said they believe that their chances of succeeding in the matriculation exams are high, but only 39% of the girls have a similar level of confidence.
An even bigger gap was revealed in response to the question about the students’ future outlook: Many more boys than girls – 71% compared to 54%, respectively – think that there is a strong likelihood they will go on to a career in computer sciences and math, whether in academia or industry.
The Cyber Education Center recently announced the initiation of a CyberGirlz community for female teenage students who are interested in computer and cyber studies.
The initiative aims to encourage female students to enter the world of technology and to empower them to pursue careers in these fields.
On May 9, ahead of the computer sciences matriculation exam, Cyber- Girlz aims to hold a study marathon for girls in preparation for the exam in six centers around the country.
“The survey confirms what we know from previous research studies – that the social environment has a deep impact on the girls’ sense of capability,” said Tali Ben Aroya, director of the CyberGirlz community.
“In an environment where girls get less support and encouragement than boys, they tend to have less confidence in their own ability, which is reflected in the low proportion of girls among high school students majoring in computers and technology subjects,” she explained.
Aroya said that in order to reverse this trend, “we need to create settings where they see technology as a field that women can succeed in, boosting their confidence and motivation and inspiring them to realize their own potential to succeed.”