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Israelis rank low in basic reading, math skills: OECD report

Tel Aviv University, Israel
David Shay
Israelis score below OECD average in tests for basic skills that can be encountered in everyday situations

Israelis' mathematics, reading, and problem-solving skills lag behind other developed countries, according to an Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) report released Tuesday, Haaretz reports.

The report, based on testing of people aged 16-65 in 34 countries, found not only that Israelis scored relatively low, but also that there are significant gaps in knowledge between different demographics. The discrepancy was particularly notable in terms of economic status and between Jewish and Arab residents.

The study further found that nearly a third of Israelis lack basic math skills, according to Haaretz.

The tests looked for basic skills that could be encountered in everyday situations, such as sorting e-mails and looking through a website to find a particular term.

 Israel was in the lower rungs of the rankings in all three subjects.

It came in at number 28 of 34 in reading, with its score of 251 points falling below the OECD average of 263.

In mathematics, Israel scored 251 points, lower than the average of 263, placing it at number 29 of 34.

As for problem-solving using a computer, only 27 percent of Israelis succeeded in reaching the second or third levels of skill, the highest possible, with the remainder failing or reaching the most basic level. Nine other countries scored lower, however.

Economic disparity appeared to affect results. Seventeen percent of those tested in more affluent communities had exceptional scores, while 14 percent failed. Only five percent of people in the poorest communities received outstanding scores, and roughly a quarter failed entirely.

Differences were even more pronounced between the Jewish and Arab populations, said Haaretz.   

The findings are striking in light of the fact that Israel has a world-renowned high-tech industry and is often touted as a center of innovation.

Furthermore, an OECD report released in November said that Israelis are among the most highly-educated people in the developed world, with 49 percent of Israelis having gained higher education degrees – well above the OECD average, which stood at 34 percent.



I think their morals are also quite basic given the leaders that they elect.

Says he who voted to leave the EU

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