Assessment and Intervention in Technological Schools in the Arab Sector in Israel

Assessment and Intervention in Technological Schools in the Arab Sector in Israel

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Assessment and Intervention in Technological Schools in the Arab Sector in Israel

The goal of this article is to describe an educational intervention project in technological high schools in the Arab sector of the Israeli educational system. The intervention was in keeping with the Response-To-Intervention (RTI) approach, which was adopted by the Israeli Ministry of Education, following the American experience. The goals of the intervention were to develop assessment procedures and tools that would identify the difficulties, and to work with the teachers in order to improve their instruction.Response-To-Intervention (RTI) is the systematic use of assessment data to most efficiently allocate resources in order to improve learning for all students (Burns &, VanDer Heyden, 2006). Thus, it is the latest stage of the data-based decision-making movement that began with Bloom, Hastings, and Madaus’,s (1971) seminal work on formative assessment (Burns, 2008). However, the recent federal provision for RTI was the culmination of years of experience that affected how RTI is conceptualized today.RTI involves four components, [1] systematic use of assessment data, [2] efficient allocation of resources, [3] enhanced learning, and [4] applicability to all children.The Ministry of Education in Israel created a “,work-model”, for the schools based on these principles. The model includes several steps:(A) The teacher identifies the children who have learning difficulties in his own class.(B) The teacher with the support of specialists, prepares a work- plan for the child.(C) The teacher implements the work–,plan and assesses the child’,s progress.(D) If the child progresses, he continues this work–,plan, if not, he is referred for individualized assessment.This “,work–,model”, was utilized in intervention programs mainly in the Jewish sector in elementary and middle schools (grade 7 to 9). There is less application of this ”,work-model”, in the Arab sector, especially not in the technological schools.In order to understand the complexity of the work in the Arab sector, I will briefly describe the schools in this sector. The Arab population has its own schools in which the language of 1 instruction is Arabic and Hebrew is taught as a second language. In the Arab sector there is a continual increase in the number of technological high schools . These schools prepare the youngsters for technological professions such as: automobile mechanics, electricians, etc. The educational materials are often translated by professional and academic organizations from Hebrew into Arabic.Another issue that is critical for the understanding the complexity of learning in Arab schools is the uniqueness of the Arabic language. Arabic has unique features of deglusia (differences between the spoken language and the written language), a phonological gap that exists between both strata of the language, orthographic complexity and finally, morpho-expressive complexity.This uniqueness has many implications for the process of reading acquisition because reading skills require vast knowledge in the early stages of the acquisition process. Specifically, the phonological distance that exists between the spoken and written languages is considered to be a delaying agent in acquiring linguistic skills in mastering the standard language and in basic reading processes such as sensitivity to phonemes, phonological representation of phonological units that are typical to the standard language, recall of sight words, precision in word decoding, reading fluency, and listening comprehension. This causes failures in the stages of acquiring reading skills especially for children with low linguistic abilities (Abu Rabia, 1997, Raffik, 2008)..Learning to read becomes a double mission in which the child is required to acquire both a linguistic system and an orthographic system simultaneously. This requires a systematic professional intervention at early stages, so that a beginning Arabic learner can overcome these difficulties. If such an intervention is not implemented, one of the possible results is continual difficulties in reading and writing. Most of the pupils in the technological schools are those who failed in regular schools and were referred to these schools in order to acquire a profession.

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