Performance Assessment of Portuguese Secondary Schools
This paper describes a performance analysis of Portuguese secondary schools using data envelopment analysis (DEA). The type of assessment carried out in schools may be different depending on the perspective. Therefore we adopted in this paper two perspectives for assessing schools: a society perspective where schools are viewed as promoting students achievement (ideally including not only academic results but also interpersonal capacities) given the students characteristics in terms of academic abilities and socio-economic backgrounds; and an educational authorities perspective where schools are viewed as transforming a set of resources (including students with given characteristics in terms of academic abilities and socio-economic backgrounds and also school resources, such as teachers) into students achievement. Two types of DEA analysis were performed: one using an output oriented model allowing factor weights to vary freely from school to school and another using a model that restricts factor weights to be equal for all schools. The first model is well suited for identifying worst performing schools, whereas the latter is best suited for identifying best performing schools. Our data set comprised a small number of schools and in some cases there were missing values. The problems associated with missing data were overcome following a procedure described in the literature. The empirical DEA analysis was followed by an exploratory analysis of contextual indicators that potentially affect schools' performance, in order to understand their impact on the educational process.
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