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About 70 percent of 11th graders and 48 percent of 8th graders skip class routinely, a study found.

The study, carried out by Prof. Ofra Meisels, the head of the University of Haifa's education department, was released yesterday at a press conference in Tel Aviv. As part of the study, 3,500 pupils answered questions about their academic habits.

The data found that 85 percent of 8th graders said they cheated on their homework and 55 percent said they cheated during exams. Among 11th graders, 70 percent admitted to cheating on exams.

"It's accepted behavior at schools that students present work that isn't theirs," Meisels said.

Meisels' study also examined violence among teenagers and against teachers. About 50 percent of 8th graders and 70 percent of 11th graders said they had shouted at their teachers, and 20 percent from both groups said they had cursed at them. Only 30 percent of the pupils said they trusted their teachers and 6 percent said they wanted to emulate them.

The research showed vandalism was a major problem at schools: 35 percent of 8th graders and 42 percent of 11th graders said they had defaced school property, including water coolers, tables and chairs.

Data also showed that discipline in Israeli classes was lax: 53 percent of respondents said classes were noisy, and less than 30 percent of the pupils in both age groups said teachers laid out clear rules.

"For half of all the students, school is a disorderly organization," Meisels said. "These results are not unusual but rather part of the norm at school. There is no distinction between how light misdemeanors and serious violent offenses are handled. There are no separate mechanisms to deal with each individually."

The research also confirmed earlier findings that a third of all students are bullied at school. About 40 percent of 8th graders and 17 percent of 11th graders said they had been hit in the month before they filled in the questionnaires.

Some 40 percent of the 8th graders, as opposed to 23 percent of 11th graders, said they had had belongings stolen at school.