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Interdisciplinary Model of Schooling: Exploring Ethical Culture in International Science Assessments

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - DISCOVERING (Interdisciplinary Model of Schooling: Exploring Ethical Culture in International Science Assessments)

Reporting period: 2017-09-01 to 2018-08-31

The primary objective of this study, DISCOVERING was to explore the common ethical aspects in the TIMSS 2015 science assessments, by considering two main approaches: one concentrates on different ethical perceptions that are rooted in a country's culture and norms; and the other concentrates on globalization through similarities in moral attitudes and behavior across countries.

DISCOVERING has the potential to facilitate equity-oriented ethical policies in Europe by encouraging educators to consider a variety of ethical aspects. In turn, this could help narrow the gaps between students, promote social justice, and increase learning opportunities.

The specific aims were to:
(a) Examine the aspects of ethical school practices in TIMSS 2015 assessments, based on principals’, teachers’ and students’ reports.
(b) Investigate which factors – ethical, external, or internal – explain students' science achievements.
DISCOVERING elicited different dimensions of school ethical practices based on principals’, teachers’, and students' TIMSS reports. These ethical practices include different dimensions. Some of them are shared among principals, teachers, and students.

We also learned that these ethical dimensions explain students' achievements.

Based on analyzing codes of ethics, we found six dimensions: ‘caring about students,’ ‘educators' professionalism,' ‘collegial relationships,’ ‘parental involvement,’ ‘community involvement’ and ‘respecting the law and regulations.’

The dimensions between the two sources of data were found to be similar, which may promote the justification of the project approach. These dimensions emphasize the main ethical challenges with which the educational system must deal.

Our findings lend support to a universal perspective, showing how common values, such as different dimensions of school ethical practices , affect student achievements. However, we also found some different perspectives in the different countries.

These different perceptions can be explained by the particular national context, which is tied to specific policies and politics of each country.

The exploitation and dissemination of the results of the research went beyond the original plan. The number of conferences, workshops, and lectures dedicated to dissemination of DISCOVERING results increased during the grant period.

We are now trying to promote a code of ethics for educators in Israel, as in other European countries.
In future rounds of TIMSS, I propose measuring the ethical practices among principals, teachers, and students in the different countries. It is important to learn how these dimensions affect student achievement.

Reports on these relationships can lead educational leaders to promote ethical environments in schools. In addition, the findings may encourage European countries to develop or update code of ethics for educators.