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Israel ranks 7th in mathematics in international education tests

Israel marks significant improvement from 24th place in 2007; big gaps remain between Hebrew-speaking and Arabic-speaking students.

Israel has ranked seventh out of 42 countries in mathematics and ranked 13th in science, according to international test results released Tuesday. In the TIMSS (Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study) 2011 exam, which measures math and science in fourth- and eighth-grade students, Israel has improved greatly since the last exam in 2007, when it was ranked 24th in math and 25th in science.

The results of the 2011 PIRLS (Progress in International Reading Literacy Study) exam, which measures reading in fourth-grade students every five years, were also released on Tuesday, with Israel ranked 18th out of 45 countries.

There was a significant improvement in test scores among all communities in Israel, however a gap remains between Hebrew speakers and Arabic speakers. In the TIMSS exam, Hebrew speakers ranked 6th, while Arabic speakers ranked 21st. In the PIRLS exam, Hebrew speakers were ranked 3rd, while Arabic speakers were ranked 34th.

TIMSS is an international exam in science and math, conducted by the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement. It has been conducted once every four years since 1995, and Israel has been participating in the exam since 1999. PIRLS is an international exam in reading for fourth graders, also conducted by the IEA. It has been conducted once every five years since 2001, and Israel has been participating in it since its start.

By Talila Nesher