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Our Projects

Ongoing Projects

Summary of the project: The educational institutions aim to define specific strategic plans and interventions that intend to promote success and prevent failure, which requires the necessary information to identify the students that are in need of these types of interventions. Unfortunately, throughout the years, the educational system has been resorting exclusively to the feedback that is given by the teachers, which has been proven to be inefficient since the identification of these students has been performed in a late stage of the learning process. Taking this into account, this research aims to contribute a better comprehension of the success and failure phenomenons in primary schooling from a longitudinal perspective. In this project, it is intended to identify the factors that better explain school failure. Moreover, it will also be proposed an approach based on Data Mining techniques that aim to facilitate the identification and prioritization of the students that are more prone to fail. This identification is, thereafter, followed by the promotion of opportunities to intentionally and prematurely act on these cases, which will promote success and prevent school failure. The final results aim to clearly identify the success and failure profiles, not only validated at an empirical level, but also at a conceptual level, and create a support system to the teachers’ and school managers’ decisions.

Coordinator: Ana Balcão Reis

Duration: 2018-2021

Partner: Centre for Research in Higher Education Policies https://www.cipes.pt/?language=en

Sponsor: EDULOG https://www.edulog.pt/

Past Projects

Summary of the project: This project aims to determine the impact that a teacher can have on the students’ learning process, depending on his/her quality of teaching. In order to quantify the quality of the teacher, this research will resort to the Value Added of each one, more precisely, the average learning of his/her students which is normally computed through the evolution of the students’ grades in two adjacent periods, before and after the student is exposed to this teacher’s way of teaching. In order to do this, the research requires access to administrative microdata from students and teachers, which was only available in the USA and some developing countries. Nevertheless, there were created new databases for data in Portugal that link the teachers to each student in each school year, along with the results from the 4th, 6th, 9th, and 12th grade, allowing for these types of studies to be performed in Portugal.

Coordinator: Luís Catela Nunes

Duration: 2017-2019

Partner: University College London https://www.ucl.ac.uk/

Sponsor: EDULOG https://www.edulog.pt/

Summary of the project: This project studies the determinants of school’s effectiveness. In order to do that, it will use a dataset that was a product of a previous project funded by FCT. It merges information on students' characteristics with results on national exams at students’ individual level for the whole Portuguese student population in basic and secondary education for the school years of 2006-2007 to 2011-2012. Through micro-econometric methods, it is intended to determine the factors that affect school achievement so that it can improve the Portuguese educational system. Some of the determinants that will be analyzed are retentions and evaluation methods, school organization, class composition, and peers’ characteristics. Finally, since one of the most important outcomes of basic and secondary education is the access to higher education and the success therein, it will also be analyzed the determinants of academic achievement of Bachelor and Integrated Masters students in Portugal. Taking this into account, it was used datasets that merge information at the individual student level on students’ characteristics and educational outcomes, both at the end of secondary education and at higher education. This will allow to identify the relationships and specific roles played by internal scores and scores on national exams.

Coordinator: Ana Balcão Reis

Duration: 2016-2019

Sponsor: Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia https://www.fct.pt/index.phtml.en

Summary of the project: The role of retention as an educational tool to overcome under-achievement is a hotly debated issue, especially given that the results in the literature are not consensual. The Portuguese case is particularly well suited to study this issue: all students must take standardized national exams at specific grades. Moreover, the available dataset tracks the performance of students over time. Therefore, it was possible to measure the impact of students’ retention on their subsequent academic performance since it was viable to control for each student’s initial level of ability at the moment of retention. A propensity score matching approach was used, in which retained and promoted 4th-grade students are matched according to their socioeconomic characteristics and the scores obtained in national exams. The results suggested that in some situations, retentions may have, on average, a positive impact on future achievement. However, in cases where statistically significant impacts are found, the estimated magnitudes are relatively small.

Coordinators: Ana Balcão Reis, Carmo Seabra, Luís Catela Nunes

Duration: 2015-2016

Paper Published: Nunes, L. C., Balcão Reis, A., and Seabra, C. 2018. “Is retention beneficial to low-achieving students? Evidence from Portugal”. Applied Economics, 1-12. (https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/00036846.2018.1444261)

Paper Presented in: Third Lisbon Research Workshop on Economics, Statistics and Econometrics of Education, ISEG, Lisbon, Portugal, 23-24 January 2015; 22nd Congress of Portuguese Statistical Society, 7-10 October, 2015, Olhão, Portugal; 10th Annual Meeting of the Portuguese Economic Journal, Coimbra, Portugal, 1-3 July, 2016; 36th International Symposium on Forecasting, ISF2016, Santander, Spain, 19-22 June 2016; Conference “Mês da Educação 2016”, Fundação Francisco Manuel dos Santos, Lisbon, Portugal, 26 October 2016; and Fórum Estatístico, DGEEC, 8 March 2017.

Sponsor: Fundação Francisco Manuel dos Santos https://www.ffms.pt/en