Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation

8-2013

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph. D.

Department

Social Work

Committee Chair

Faul, Anna

Author's Keywords

Education; Environmental variables; Occupation; Social disorganization theory; Palestinian; Multilevel modeling

Subject

Palestinian Arabs--Education; Academic achievement--Jerusalem

Abstract

The purpose of this mixed-method research study was to identify the predictors of success of Palestinian Arab Tawjihi students in East Jerusalem schools. Three theories guided this research study and assisted in developing the conceptual framework; social disorganization theory, ecological theory, and achievement motivation theory. Methods: The sample consisted of 20 schools and 522 students from 19 different neighborhoods. This study was based on existing data and observational data as well as some qualitative data to provide context for the model results. The existing data were gathered from the different schools, the Ministry of Education, local organizations, neighborhood representatives, and from human rights organizations such as B’Tselem and Badil. In-depth interviews were conducted with four students selected by school principals based on the students’ willingness to participate. A two-level model with students on level 1 and schools on level 2 was tested. Results: Results indicated that female students, students in the scientific Tawjihi stream, and those whose mothers were of higher education level perform better than male students, students in the literary stream, and students whose mothers were of lower education level. Students with higher student to teacher ratio, who attended schools that suffered from classroom shortage and lower building quality performed better than those who attended schools with more favorable characteristics. Students who attended schools with higher success and matriculating percentages performed better as well. There was one significant interaction effect between Tawjihi stream and school type revealing that the best performing students were those in the scientific stream in Public schools and the worst performing students were those in the literary stream in Waqf (Islamic) schools. The private Christian and Muslim schools and the private not-for-profit schools were not significantly different from one another in terms of this interaction effect. However, public schools showed the biggest difference with students in the scientific streams performing significantly better than the students in the literary stream. The difference was also significant for the Waqf schools and showed a trend for the private for-profit schools. Conclusion: Implications from the results indicated certain measures need to be taken by schools, parents, and the Ministries of Education to encourage male students. The Ministries of Education need to be more deliberate about dropout policies and reassess their policies regarding assigning students to the different Tawjihi streams. Moreover, there needs to be a reassessment of the contributing factors to higher performance among students regarding school characteristics. Parents and schools should work in collaboration with each other. On a school level, schools should provide all students with an equal opportunity to learn without being selective. Due to the abnormal political situation in Jerusalem, the factors which make up these data are constantly affected. Therefore, an effort must be made to keep data current, through updated research on a regular basis.

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