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Many second-graders in the Arab sector have difficulty understanding and expressing themselves in Arabic, according to a report on tests the Education Ministry administered last year in public schools. The report noted a slight rise in school satisfaction among elementary-age pupils, from 74 to 76 percent, and a drop in reports of violence.

The average grade for written expression was 54 and for reading comprehension, 63. Among Bedouin students the average grade for written expression was 38.

The results show that 89 percent of Jewish students met the standard for reading comprehension at the beginning of the year. However, among immigrant and mainstreamed special-needs children, 67 percent and 56 percent of children met the standard.

The results are part of the report of the most recent standardized tests administered to 140,000 pupils up to the eighth grade.

The tests found that the achievements of elementary school students from schools located in strong socio-economic areas were higher by five to seven points in all four tests (Hebrew, math, English and science and technology). Among the eighth grade pupils the gap was 14 points in math and 18 points in English. Replying to questions designed to test students' impressions of their teachers, only half felt their teachers "believed in the success of the students."

Elementary school students reported a drop in disciplinary problems in school, from 42 to 37 percent, and a slight rise in satisfaction with school, from 74 to 76 percent. However, one-third of students in elementary and junior school reported teachers insulting and hurting them