Context and Methods
The model we presented in the previous chapter served as our road map in a series of empirical studies in which we examined parts of the model and replicated many of the findings that we report here. In each of the following chapters we present a set of findings that addresses aspects of our model. Much of our empirical work in this area has been published in journal articles and book chapters. In this book we present a more comprehensive view of this body of work and try to avoid technical details as much as possible. When appropriate, we refer interested readers to technical notes and appendixes and to journal articles that present methodological and statistical procedures in more detail.
The findings reported in this book are from studies we conducted in Israel. It is important, therefore, to describe the Israeli education system that is the context of this book. This is mainly a public system that is divided into three school types: primary schools for grades 1 to 6, junior high schools for grades 7 to 9, and high schools for grades 10 to 12. In 1999 there were about 1.9 million students in 3,540 schools in Israel.
Israel’s population is multicultural, with many religious and ethnic groups; the education system reflects this diversity. To preserve cultural identities, the system is divided into cultural subsystems (streams, in the Israeli jargon) supervised by the Ministry of Education: Jewish secular (Mamlachti), Jewish Orthodox (MamlachtiDati), and Arab. The Israeli system includes only Israeli citizens. Arabs in the West Bank and Gaza are not Israeli citizens; they have separate, independent education systems and are not included in the present study.