Democracy in the Israeli education system: The case of the English matriculation exam

Rana Zaher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


This research investigates the extent to which indices of social justice and democratic rights are expressed in Israel in the crucial national English matriculation exam, as perceived by Palestinian Arab high school pupils studying for these exams and their English teachers. The research employed Critical Theory as a paradigm, case study as a research tradition, and semi-structured interviews and questionnaires as methods. Shohamy's Democratic Assessment Model provided the basis for the questionnaire items and the interview questions. Freire's Critical Pedagogy framework was consulted to interpret the findings of the research. The factual findings revealed a proper application of democratic principles in the environment of the national English as a Foreign Language (EFL) testing, yet only with regard to technical matters, while the environment appears to be undemocratic with regard to other essential and critical issues. The conceptual conclusions suggest that when democracy is bent by the governing authority and shaped to serve its interests, it is not only minorities' education that is affected, but also the education of the majority, and that democracy itself needs to be aided by civil society to ensure a more egalitarian educational reality for all.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)527-540
Number of pages14
JournalIntercultural Education
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • EFL testing
  • critical theory
  • democracy
  • education

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Education


Dive into the research topics of 'Democracy in the Israeli education system: The case of the English matriculation exam'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this