At least 14 percent of students who received a matriculation certificate following the 2008-09 school year do not meet the minimum requirements for university admission, according to Education Ministry data.

This is more than the 13 percent the preceding year.

In order to be admitted to an Israeli university, students need a matriculation certificate. They also need to pass matriculation exams in at least four units of English and three units of math, which goes beyond the minimum for a matriculation certificate.

The number of units reflects the difficulty of the material, and ranges from three to five in English and math.

The data released yesterday showed that 62.6 percent of 12th-grade girls earned a matriculation certificate, compared to only 52.3 percent of boys. The statistics do not include students who dropped out of regular high school studies. In total, 46.1 percent of 17-year-olds earned a matriculation certificate.

As in prior years, a higher percentage of students at regular high schools earned a certificate than did their peers at vocational schools. The Education Ministry is currently considering changes that would increase the number of vocational students receiving a certificate.

Among Jewish students, those attending state religious schools received matriculation certificates at a rate slightly higher than their peers at secular schools (65.9 percent compared to 64.5 percent ).

Only 22.3 percent of ultra-Orthodox students received a certificate, but most do not take the matriculation exams.

Among new immigrants, 53 percent earned a matriculation certificate.

Unofficial figures reported by Haaretz have shown that 75 percent of high-school dropouts are new immigrants, ultra-Orthodox or Arab students.

Students may take the exams at various levels for each subject. At the lowest level, there was little change in average matriculation scores compared to prior years.

In general, grades were only average. The average score for civics was 74.91 out of 100. For the minimum three units of English, the average score was 73.07, compared to 86.32 for five units of English. The average Hebrew composition score was 76.21. On average, students earned 74.61 in history, 72.96 in literature, 75.31 in Bible and 78.13 in math. Students taking the maximum five units in math averaged a grade of 85.41.

The grades represent not only the students' matriculation exam scores; they also include grades from an internal exam administered by the students' own teachers.

Arab students scored poorly in language-related subjects, as they did in past years. The lowest average score among Arab students was in Hebrew, at 54.56, but the average score in Arabic was only slightly better, at 61.25.