Evaluating the Impact of the Ethiopian National Project’s Scholastic Assistance Program on High School Academic Performance in 2012

The Ethiopian National Project (ENP) is a unique partnership between the Jewish Federation of North America, the Government of Israel, representatives of Ethiopian-Israeli community organizations, the Jewish Agency for Israel, the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee in Israel and Keren Hayesod-UIA. It is active among Ethiopian-Israeli students in junior high and high school (grades 7-12) and is designed to improve their achievement and reduce the gap between them and non-Ethiopian students, with special emphasis on matriculation exams. To address these goals, the program provides scholastic, emotional and social interventions based on a culturally-sensitive approach to their unique needs.

The current report is part of a comprehensive evaluation carried out since 2006, examining the effect of the program on the achievement of the participants. To assess the impact of the program on student achievement, we compared the progress in achievement of 12th-graders who participated in the program each year to the progress in the same years of two comparison groups: non-Ethiopian students at the same schools, and Ethiopian-Israeli students with similar characteristics in similar schools who did not participate in the program.

Overall, the findings were positive:

  • The program has had a major impact on the eligibility for a matriculation certificate among the Ethiopian-Israeli participants
  • The program has narrowed the gaps in achievement between participants and non-Ethiopian students
  • Graduates of 12th-grade who participated in the program in various years constituted 13%-25% of all Ethiopian 12th-grade graduates in Israel, and the improvement in their achievement played a part in the improved achievement of all Ethiopian students over the past decade.

Nonetheless, the program still faces significant challenges, such as coping with the difficulties of learning English, and achieving more matriculation certificates that meet university prerequisites.

The study findings are serving as a basis for ongoing efforts to improve the program and expand its dissemination.

The study was initiated and funded by the Ethiopian National Project.