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New model of national school examinations

The Ministry of Education unveiled plans for a new model of national school examinations on Monday, intended to replace the current elementary and middle school Meitzav assessment from the next academic year. The existing triennial exam, which is used to assess scholastic performance across the country, has come under increased scrutiny during the past year following allegations of attempts by schools to report false results to education authorities.

The new and increased examination model, the ministry said, will consist of four internal and external assessments, aiming to measure the “knowledge, skills and values” of schools and their pupils. Under the new model, internal assessment tools will serve as the most important source of evaluation. Examinations will focus on core subjects, including literature, mathematics, English and sciences. All elementary and middle schools will also participate in an biannual external assessment, focusing once annually on language skills and once annually on one of a variety of subjects.

In addition, surveys on in-school learning environments and pedagogical practices will be completed by pupils once every three years. Additional measuring tools – evaluating issues such as fairness and equality, professional development of staff and extracurricular leaning – will be implemented. “Today, the education system is embarking on a new journey – one of quality, transparency and relevance,” said Education Minister Rafi Peretz. “The new model of assessment is a model for the twenty-first century. It will present the entire range of school activities, and not rely solely on grades.”

The secretary-general of the Israel Teachers’ Union, which had advocated for the termination of external testing following recent controversies, expressed anger at the new assessment framework. “The Education Ministry is sending a message to its employees that it does not trust them, and is therefore increasing controls, assessments and supervision,” said Yaffa Ben-David. “We will not agree to any plan that harms teaching staff and students.”

Eytan Halon