Ivchunim (School Evaluation)

This article was contributed by Surelle Itzkowitz, a psychologist who is also a certified educational evaluator. She can be reached at surelle@gmail.com. 

This article provides parents with the tools to navigate the evaluation system in Israel.

There are 3 primary types of Ivchunim:

  1. Psychologi (Psychological)
  2. Diadacti (Educational)
  3. Psychodidacti / Meshulav (Psycho-Educational/ Integrated)

1. Psychologit (Psychologist)

A psychologist must have Mumchiut (expertise) in the field of educational evaluations.

  • Developmental psychologist: Works with ages 0-1st grade, and usually sees children through the Health Funds.
  • Educational psychologist: Works with children from K-12 and can see children through the Sheirut Psychologit (local municipal psychological department) or in a Machon (private clinic).
  • Clinical psychologist: Works with all ages and can work with children in hospitals (in or out patient) or in a Machon.

2. Me’avchenet Didactit (Educational Evaluator)

A Me’avchenet Didactit is usually a teacher, who has undergone special certification training in locating problems in language, perception, or memory. They work in Machonim or privately.

3. Psychodidacti/ Meshulav

The psychodidacti psychologist administers tests of intelligence, achievement, cognitive processing and/or social and emotional development. Psycho-educational testing is recommended where there are questions about the source of a child’s problem and the most appropriate form of intervention.

Practicalities and Purpose of Ivchunim at Each Stage

0-Kindergarten:

  • Placement in a Gan Tipulit (therapeutic nursery).
  • Obtainment of a Gannenet Siach (therapeutic kindergarten teacher). This teacher provides a certain amount of treatment hours within the framework of a regular kindergarten. These services are in addition to any para-professional services that a child may be receiving through the Kuppot Cholim (health funds).
  • Decision whether a child should repeat kindergarten.

Elementary School:

  • Provision of Hora`ah Metakenet (remedial services) and /or, Shaot Shiluv(inclusion hours).
  • Hatamot L’Mivchanim (granting of testing accommodations). These are also called Hakalot (leniencies).
  • Therapeutic recommendations for the classroom and the family.
  • Recommendations for supplemental psychotherapies such as Rechiva Tipulit (therapeutic horse riding)

Junior High and High School:

The main focus at this point in the education system is preparing the child for the Mivchanei Bagrut (matriculation exams). A Teudat Bagrut (certificate of matriculation is necessary for acceptance to university and for most jobs.

Accommodations available:

  • Extension of time
  • Use of a calculator
  • Use of an electronic dictionary for English
  • Ignoring spelling mistakes when grading papers
  • A list of mathematical formulas
  • Oral exam
  • Dictation of answers

All of these require an educational evaluation and the approval of the Yoetzet (school guidance counselor).  However, most children will do the Psycho-didacti because this report is then usually forwarded to the army and it looks better if the evaluations are more inclusive.

For children with more severe learning disabilities:

  • Oral Examination
  • Adjusted Examination (or any other adjustment that the evaluator feels would serve the interests of the student).Misrad Hachinuch requires an Ivchun Psycho-didacti . The evaluation, along with paperwork that is filled out by the Yoetzet and the student him/herself, is sent to a Va’adah (committee) of Misrad Hachinuch and they evaluate the recommendation
  • A child may also be eligible for certain enrichment projects or other special projects if s/he has an evaluation.

Other things to keep in mind:

It is important to remember that recommendations are not legally binding.  A parent can not come to a teacher and demand anything. It is not a good idea to expect that the teacher will follow everything written in the Ivchun. The same advice holds true for dealings with the Yoetzet.

(Shh!  Just between us):

Smile broadly at every staff member in that school. Greet every one.  You don’t know who is connected to who. If you hear that the teacher was sick, call her to wish her Refuah Shleima (speedy recovery).  You get the idea, schmooze and make connections.

When speaking with any official authority, speak in a very respectful and even obsequious tone while you explain your individual situation.  Once they understand you, you can then gently make your request.

The bottom line:

An educational or psychological evaluation runs between 800-1500 shekel. A combined evaluation can run from 2000 up to 4000 shekel. Why the price differences?

  • Varies depending on socio-economic level of city
  • Years of experience of the evaluator
  • Small differences in assessment tools

It is not necessary to translate the exam into English because the evaluator will go over the written results together with you. You can also bring it to someone who has experience and they can explain anything else you do not understand.

Glossary of Commonly Used Terms:

  • Attention and Concentration- קשב וריכוז
  • Auditory Channel- ערוץ השמעתי
  • Average Level- רמת הנורמה
  • Cognitive Function- תפקוד שכלי
  • Defense Mechanism- מנגנון הגנה
  • Emotional Domain- תחום רגשי
  • Language Domain- תחום שפה
  • Language Mechanism- מנגנונים שפתיים
  • Long Term- טווח הארוך
  • Naming/Retrieval Speed- מהירות שיום/שליפה
  • Phonological Awarenesssמודעות פונולוגית
  • Reading- קריאה
  • Reading Comp- הבנת הנקרא
  • Recommendations- המלצה
  • Semantic Fluency- שטף סמנטי
  • Spelling Errors- שגיאות כתיב
  • Short Term- טווח הקצר
  • Syntactical/Morphological Awareness- ערנות תחבירית/מורפו תחבירית
  • Verbal Fluency- שטף מילולי
  • Visual Channel- ערוץ החזותי
  • Writing- כתיבה
  • Written Expressions- הבעה