Israeli Schools to Be Measured by Social Activity, Draftees Too

Education Ministry officials say judging success strictly on matriculation exam results was wrong.

Nir Kafri

The Education Ministry published on Monday new educational criteria for measuring high school achievements, adding data such as levels of schools’ social and community engagement, and the percentage of army draftees and school dropouts, in addition to the percentage of students eligible for matriculation exams.

Education Ministry officials said that in past the only criterion was matriculation exam eligibility, which created a false impression that this was the be-all and end-all of a school’s worth, when educational and values-based achievements are no less important. Schools have promoted educational, community and social values for many years without receiving deserved recognition from the public, they said, because until now the schools were measured solely by matriculation exam eligibility.

They also noted that through “significant learning” reforms, educational and value-based activities as well as evaluation methods and diverse methods of learning have been expanded and institutionalized to the point that they now constitute an inseparable part of a student’s matriculation certificate.

Education Minister Naftali Bennett said schools are not grades factories but rather incubators of values. A school that only checks students according to their grades does not provide an education but rather sends a negative message to students, he said.

“I promised teachers whom I met in the field, and today I am fulfilling it,” he said. “We will measure schools according to criteria of quality, values and preventing dropouts alongside such a [matriculation] measurement. I believe that changing the method of measurement will bring significant change.”