The GEMS Exams in Israel—Between Center and Periphery

  •  Eli Ben Harus    
  •  Nitza Davidovitch    


The relationship between input and output is one of the leading topics in modern educational discourse. In the current study, we focus on the GEMS (Growth and Effectiveness Measures for Schools) exams in Israel, which constitute a measure of a school’s scholastic achievements and its academic-social climate. The GEMS is the equivalent of exams such as the TIMSS and the PISA, used in other countries. The GEMS is a school supervisory tool of major importance operated by Israel’s Ministry of Education for improving scholastic achievements and academic-social climate in schools. As an objective indicator, GEMS scores open the field of education to competition. Data on all schools in Israel whose students take the GEMS also appear on the National Authority for Measurement and Assessment in Education (RAMA) website. This study aims to examine the reasons for the disparities in the GEMS results between Israel’s center and periphery and explores whether they can be reduced. Studies published on this issue in the last 16 years that explored these disparities, which are reflected in the extent of parental involvement and students’ educational deficits, were conducted on behalf of RAMA and under its supervision, and some were not sufficiently critical in their review of the efficacy of the GEMS exams. Identifying and understanding these causes is a significant step toward reducing the disparities which have important implications for future acquisition of a secondary and tertiary education. The research findings offer a practical contribution for policy makers in the educational system, while identifying elements of positive change in the schools.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.