Gaps between the center and periphery affect teachers, too

Teachers in Israel's periphery have lower test scores than teachers in Israel's center - and it may be affecting the students.

Arutz Sheva Staff,

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Teachers under 40 in Israel's periphery score lower on Israel's psychometric examination than their counterparts in Israel's central regions, the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) reported Tuesday.

The psychometric exam, Israel's version of the SAT, has a minimum score of 200 and a maximum of 800 points. In order to become a teacher, candidates must score at least 500. For students who studied in an Israeli high school, some of the 500 points come from a calculation which integrates high school matriculation exam results with the result of the psychometric test.

The psychometric exam includes math skills, English skills, and logic/ language skills.

Teachers in Israel's north and south scored an average of 460 points, while those in the central and Jerusalem areas scored an average of 517 points. The national average for all those testing in 2016 - regardless of what degree they applied for - was 545 points.

The psychometric gap, CBS reported, matches the socioeconomic level as well: Teachers in the top half scored 530 points, while those in the bottom half scored 481 points. Amongst new teachers, the numbers were 534 and 500, respectively.

When it came to society's sectors, students in the standard state schools scored 513 points, while those in religious state schools scored 501 points.

Meanwhile, test results also varied by which grades the teachers taught: High school math teachers scored an average of 116 points on the psychometric exam's quantitative reasoning section, while junior high school teachers scored an average of 110 and elementary school math teachers scored an average of 102 points on the same section.

High school English teachers scored an average of 113 points on the exam's English section, while English teachers in junior high schools scored an average of 107 and elementary schools scored an average of 101.

The number of college students studying education who had also taken the psychometric exam dropped from 87% in 2006 to 56% in 2016. And those students who did take the exam scored worse than they had just five years before: the average score dropped from 514 in 2011 to 495 in 2016.

However, amongst those who received a B.Ed. degree, the average psychometric score rose from 466 in 2006 to 503 in 2016.

Oranim College President Professor Yaarah Bar-On told Haaretz that "success in the psychometric exam, which reflects learning skills, doesn’t attest to an education student necessarily becoming a good teacher."

However, she added, "one can assume that if exam-takers don’t know how to learn, they won’t know how to teach."

"These data show that the Education Ministry needs to encourage more good teachers to come to weaker areas."




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