This book presents a comprehensive evaluation study of elementary education in Israel conducted over several years and completed in 1977. The study concentrates on Jewish schools, but some data are presented from parallel studies in the Arab Schools. A notable feature of the study is its unusually large scope both in size and content. It sampled nearly ten percent of Jewish schools and fifteen percent of Arab schools. The content includes a great variety of areas: cultural origins, home conditions and socialization patterns of pupils, conditions and practices in schools, teachers' and principals' backgrounds and their attitudes toward central issues in education, pupils' personality characteristics and motivations related to school experience, their learning abilities and achievements in five major school subjects. Special emphasis is given to the disadvantaged pupils, and an examination of the problem of equality of educational opportunity.
This study's uniqueness lies in a novel approach in the measurement and analysis of scholastic achievements. Like all studies in the "psychometric" tradition, it places pupils in a position related to an advantaged pupil group. But test construction and most data analyses were carried out by the criterion-reference approach combined with a notion of "master learning." This enabled presentation of the absolute achievement level of a pupil or a pupil group vis-a-vis the optimal and minimal requirements of the curriculum and each school subject, as well as for its various content area. This approach permits much more than the traditional methods, utilization of results for deliberation and revision in educational policies. This applies particularly to curriculum construction and methods of instruction. It may also lead to a more appropriate definition of the disadvantaged pupil.
Five chapters of the study present a historical review and sociological analysis of the problems of Israeli education and deal with specific methodological considerations. The twelve following chapters present detailed results and analysis for each topic of investigation.