OECD Reviews of School Resources: Portugal 2018

image of OECD Reviews of School Resources: Portugal 2018

This country review offers an independent analysis of major issues facing the use of school resources in Portugal from an international perspective. It provides a description of national policies, an analysis of strengths and challenges and options for possible future approaches. The analysis focuses on the process of decentralisation of school governance, the integration of local, national and international funding streams in educational financing, and the development of the teaching profession. The report covers primary and secondary school education.



Assessment and recommendations

The share of 25-64 year-olds in Portugal who had completed at least upper secondary education increased from 20% in 1992 to 47% in 2016; for those aged 20-24, 78% had completed at least upper secondary in 2016. Furthermore, 15-year-old students in Portugal saw the greatest improvements in their science abilities of any OECD country as measured by the OECD Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) between 2006 and 2015. The average score in science increased from 474 in 2006 to 501 in 2015; simultaneously the proportion of 15-year-old students scoring below Level 2 (below baseline proficiency) declined from 24.5% to 17.4%. These improvements in students’ scientific skills were accompanied by similar substantial improvements in 15‑year-olds’ reading and mathematics skills, trailing only one OECD country in their improvement rate. Though not as consistently, younger Portuguese students have also demonstrated improvements in their abilities. While Portuguese students in their fourth year of primary instruction have shown strong improvements in their mathematics skills over the past 20 years on the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS), fourth year primary students have shown uneven patterns of gains and losses in their reading skills on the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS). Nevertheless, a large proportion (13%) of Portuguese students continue to leave school before completing secondary education and fail to secure a job or continue their education, repetition rates remain almost 3 times the OECD average (34% vs. 12%), and between one-fifth and one-quarter of Portuguese 15-year-olds lack baseline skills in mathematics, reading or science.


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