Indicators to monitor school effectiveness
Indicators on early school leaving and on learning improvement are used in Portugal to promote quality improvement of students? performance and recognise/reward the good work undertaken by all the public schools.
The TEIP Programme –Programme for Priority Intervention Educational Areas has the following goals: to improve the learning outcomes and promote the quality of the educational paths, to eliminate the Early School Leaving (ESL) and absenteeism; to reduce the amount of indiscipline and to reinforce relations between schools, families and communities. The clusters included in the programme are located in social and economically disadvantaged areas where violence, ESL, absenteeism and child labour are the cause of educational failure.
At national level, two indicators have been created, by the Ministry of Education and Science, in order to promote the quality improvement of students’ performance and recognise/reward the good work undertaken by all the public schools. The Education Effectiveness Indicator (EFI) assesses the annual evolution of educational achievement of students, the consistency between the internal evaluation results and the results from the external evaluation (in this case national examinations). School improvement is measured against the starting point of the school (in relation to the previous year). The Drop Out Risk Indicator (RA) is based on the number of students, reported by schools at the end of each academic year that have dropped-out, cancelled their enrolment or have been retained in the same school year due to absenteeism. Schools that reduce these numbers may be provided with additional resources to tackle ESL. For instance, for a school to obtain 30 extra credit hours, it should reduce the level of drop out to less than half of the previous year.
In parallel to these measurements, there are other initiatives available to all schools to promote students success, e.g., the Plus School Success Programme (PMSE), Mediation/ Tutorship and guidance and psychological support at schools.
Moreover, since the 2012/13 academic year, the General Inspectorate of Education and Science, in its External Evaluation of Schools Programme, takes into account an indicator called Expected Value which allows to compare the results (and their evolution) of each school with other schools located in similar contexts. This indicator sheds more light on the evaluation, making it fairer to schools that are located in disadvantaged contexts, for instance.
For each schools cluster in the TEIP Programme targets are set according to four different domains which include indicators: Domain 1 - Examination attainment (national evaluation) measured by the indicator success rate and average grade; Domain 2 - internal evaluation attainment measured by the indicator success rate and the indicator percentage of students with positive grades at all subjects. Domain 3: ESL measured by ESL rate indicator and finally, domain 4: Indiscipline - indicator that measures the number of reported episodes of indiscipline, per student. All targets are based on the data collected during the 3 previous years in order to make an equal departure point for each school in order to set reachable and fair targets.
To sum up, according to the indicators described there is an increase in the number of school clusters, in the TEIP programme, that have an ESL rate lower than the national ESL rate. During the first 9 schools years, almost half of the clusters have reduced the rate of absenteeism, compared to the average of the 3 years before. Concerning the indiscipline, the number of incidents per students has been reduced in about half of the clusters. More than 20% of the clusters have a success rate higher than the national average and 43,3% of the clusters have reduced the distance to the national average in more than half of the national exams.
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