Educational Reforms

The major purposes of educational changes and reforms are improving the achievements of students and moderating inequality between social groups. Findings, in Israel and in many other countries, point at the limited consequences of most educational reforms. Some studies even show that reforms enhanced inequality rather than moderate it. In the course the students discuss major educational reforms in Israel and analyze their consequences according to sociological approaches.

Tracking in Education: Patterns, Perceptions, and Consequences (seminar)

Tracking is the allocation of students to different programs either in different schools or within the same school. This allocation constructs the educational opportunities available to a student. Tracking is highly controversial and is a source of disputes among policy makers, researchers, and the public. The seminar focuses on patterns of tracking, distinguishing between formal and informal (de-facto) tracking. The students study the different attitudes towards tracking and its effect on various aspects of educational inequality. The empirical work (either quantitative or qualitative) is performed in schools and includes a student questionnaire and interviews with school leaders, students, and teachers.

Social Background and Educational Achievements (seminar)

The seminar focuses on the link between socio-demographic characteristics in different social contexts. The students compare among various countries studying the effects of the social and economic development of a country and its curricular policy on the various aspects of inequality in achievement.

Quantitative Research Methods (undergraduate): The aim of the course is to familiarize students with the basic principles of data analysis used in quantitative sociological research. The course presents several methods of estimating different types of causal relationships between variables, which make it possible to both describe phenomena and test theoretical hypotheses. Students are trained to conduct independent quantitative research, and to read research papers that make use of quantitative data with a critical eye. The course consists of lectures and tutorials. In the tutorials the students get practical research experience, including data analysis using the SPSS software program.

Hierarchical Models (graduate)

Sociological research has acknowledged, a long time ago, the significance of contextual effects on behaviors, attitudes, perceptions and achievements of individuals. These effects operate alongside characteristics of the individuals, and sometimes interact with them. Hierarchical models, which incorporate various levels of analysis (e.g. students and schools; employees and work organizations) enable an empirical test of the relative significance of individual and contextual characteristics in producing different sociological outcomes. The students study the principals of multilevel analysis and practice it using the software HLM on various data sets.

Advanced Quantitative Research Methods: Categorical Outcome (graduate)

The course focuses on log-linear models and on three types of regressions: logistic, multinomial, and ordinal. The students practice the methods on various data sets.