JERUSALEM, Israel -- Hebrew-speaking Israeli students ranked in the top 10 in all subjects among Western nations, with an impressive seventh place in international math tests and competitive scores in science and reading.
Scores differed according to the socio-economic background, with students from upper-class homes scoring 565, those from middle class backgrounds 521, and students from low-income families scoring 493.
Arab speakers also improved their test scores in math, science, reading and comprehension, but wide gaps remain between them and Hebrew speakers.
Israeli Minister of Education Gideon Sa'ar cautioned students not to rest on their laurels but rather continue pressing in.
"The students of Israel have made the most significant progress," Sa'ar said. "Hebrew speakers are ranked among the 10 leading countries…10th in science, seventh in math, and second in reading alongside Finland and Russia."
On the science test, Israelis finished 13th worldwide on the Third International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) for the 2011 school year and 18th on the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) test.
Eighth grade-students take the TIMSS and fourth graders take the PIRLS test. Korea, Singapore, and Thailand finished in the top spots in math, science, and reading.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also congratulated students and teachers on their "wonderful achievement."