Integration of Israeli Students of Ethiopian Origin in Israeli Universities

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Feuerstein, R.

The current criterion for acceptance to universities in Israel is based on psychometric
testing that presents a strong barrier for acceptance of students of Ethiopian origin
(SEO) to the universities. Based on the sociocultural theories of Vygotsky and Feuerstein,
we suggest an intervention aimed at integrating SEO, considered to be “culturally
different,” in universities.The intervention includes a novel screening process
(based on dynamic assessment [DA] and an interview), academic oriented metacognitive
course, and supportive counseling. A group of SEO (n = 665) with low psychometric
scores, applied for assistance in admission to university, in seven cohorts (2010-2016).
A group of 174 (26%) candidates were selected for the project and enrolled for studies
in university; 49.4% enrolled in prestigious departments (e.g., medicine). The findings
showed that despite the significant lower psychometric scores of the SEO as compared
with the national average, only 4.6% have withdrawn at the end of first year as compared
with 10.8% of the national Jewish sample and 12.4% among SEO population.
A higher percentage of SEO in the current sample enrolled in high prestige departments
than SEO in the population. No significant differences were found between droppedout
and continuing students in the psychometric test. Prediction of three-years’ grade
point average (GPA) by psychometric scores were not significant (R² = .03, p > .05) as
compared to the prediction in SEO population (R² = .10, p < .001). The findings support
Vygotsky’s and Feuerstein’s approach that standardized tests of students with deprived cultural backgrounds do not reflect their learning potential and that the use shortterm
intervention may be an effective mechanism of preparing students for academic

Feuerstein, R., Tzuriel, D., Shlomit Cohen, S., Cagan, A., Yosef, L., Devisheim, H., Falik, L., & Goldenberg, R., (2019)

Integration of Israeli Students of Ethiopian Origin in Israeli Universities. Journal of Cognitive Education and Psychology, 18(1), 18-34.