At a high level, SRI's findings after one year:
- Across schools, interviewees noted that students are more interested in Israel and Israeli people, culture, and society than before BASIS.
- As a result of BASIS activities such as those related to twinning and partnerships, student trips to Israel, and presentations and other events, schools reported that students are now more able to personally connect to the land and people of Israel.
- Across site visits, interviewees agreed that students are exposed to Israel-related concepts and activities more often than in previous years and that this is positively affecting students’ knowledge about diverse issues related to Israel.
Student outcomes were evaluated by SRI in two broad categories, consistent with the BASIS logic model:
- Increasing student learning about Israel;
- Increasing student connection to Israel and the Jewish people.
Student learning was measured by school assessments. Each of the twelve schools identified and measured progress in five key learning objectives, which SRI then grouped into seven topic areas:
- Israel’s history
- Israel’s geography
- Israeli culture, literature, art, music
- Israel’s current events and/or politics
- Zionism: history, philosophy, culture
- Connection with Israel and its role in the Jewish community (e.g., “What is the purpose of Israel as I understand it, and what does it mean to me?”)
- Hebrew proficiency
Schools assessed 298 students for mastery in these subject areas. Across all seven topic areas, the schools reported 94% mastery (ranging from 100% in Connection with Israel and its role in the Jewish community to 85% in Israel’s current events and/or politics).
Teachers reported improvements in student knowledge, skills and attitudes, with regard to:
- Students’ ability to think about Israel from several perspectives;
- Students’ knowledge about Israel;
- Students’ interest in learning about Israel.
Teacher comments to SRI included:
- Through participation in the mural project, students are learning specific things about Israel and the Torah that they would not have learned otherwise.
- Because of twinning, students have more knowledge of Israeli concepts, like the Israeli Defense Forces, cities, geography, and everyday life in Israel.
- Kids know more [about Israel] because more is being taught about Israel.
- The face time that Israel gets has increased. Our students, our staff, and our families are at a different place than they were 3 years ago. Students’ knowledge is increasing over time.
Student Connections to Israel and the Jewish People
After the first year of the Initiative, SRI concluded:
- More students visited Israel
- More students feel very much connected to the Jewish community and the role Israel plays in it
Oranim College found significant increases in “sense of Jewish peoplehood” among students who had participated in mifgashim (encounters) with their peers at twinned Israel schools. These increases were measured by student responses to questions aimed at gauging student solidarity with Israel and the Jewish people.