Performance of Portuguese Schools – Which factors do make a difference?

Project start date: 
Tuesday, January 1, 2013
Project end date: 
Wednesday, December 31, 2014
Main researcher: 
External researchers: 
Margarida F. Cardoso; Carolina Costa
Research team: 
Proponent institution: 
CIPES - Centro de Investigação em Políticas do Ensino Superior
Project description: 
The quality of education is important for individuals, in that it has a positive impact on their future earnings and quality of life. But its social returns are no less important. Particularly, it is associated with reduced crime and conflict and the promotion of economic growth. This project aims to identify the main determinants of student performance in Portuguese schools, thus contributing to a public discussion of the issue of performance evaluation in Portuguese schools. The primary and secondary education precede higher education and as such has important implications in the human capital entering into higher education. Performance in non-higher education can thus also compromise some goals set for higher education not only in terms of access and completion rates of courses, but also with regard to the increase of graduates in certain areas. The positive relationship between education and economic growth has justified large investments in education made by several countries (OECD 2010a, Hanushek 2005). But in many countries, such investments have not translated into an improved economic situation, although they result in an increase in the average education of the population. This meant that policymakers and researchers turn to the issue of quality of education (OECD 2010b), having received much attention in the media and resulting in the publication of rankings in newspapers. Portugal is no exception in this regard. However, the published rankings have been limited to rank schools based on the average performance of students in national testing, ignoring the importance their socio-economic background can have on results. Furthermore, the fact that public schools cannot select their students, and receive many students from disadvantaged social groups, often prevents them from accessing the top positions of the rankings. However, despite the importance of the family recognized in the literature, recent research has emphasized the importance of the role of the school in the academic performance of the students (Hanushek and Woessmann 2009; Hanushek 2011 OCDEa). This project takes this thread as a starting point and proposes to move forward in new directions. In particular, it is proposed to evaluate the performance of schools based on value-added models (Meyer 1997). The value added is a measure of the progress made by the students of a school. The value-added indicators assess the effectiveness of schools in promoting the performance of their students. In the context of these models, efforts will be made to isolate the contribution of the school in the results of its students from other factors (Meyer 1997).
Financing amount: 
€ 64.107,20
Funding entity: 
PO Assistência Técnica FSE (QREN)

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