Quality assurance in early childhood and school education
According to Law No 31/2002, 20 December, the evaluation system includes pre-school, basic and upper secondary school education, as well as out-of-school provision and special types of education.
This applies to pre-school, basic and upper secondary education establishments on the public, private, cooperative and solidarity networks.
The objectives of the system include:
- providing the local, regional and national educational administration, and society in general, with a framework of information on how the educational system operates.
- ensuring educational success.
- guaranteeing performance credibility of educational and teaching establishments.
- enhancing the role of different members of the educational community.
Evaluation of the education system is undertaken by several bodies, and their contribution and the object of evaluation are quite diverse.
The National Education Council issues opinions, advice, and recommendations, especially regarding:
- the rules governing the self-evaluation process.
- the annual external evaluation work plan.
- the outcomes of both internal and external evaluation processes.
The National Education Council may request any information it deems necessary from the Ministry of Education, as well as recommend that the Ministry use certain evaluation processes (Law No 31/2002, 20 December).
The Ministry of Education departments are responsible for planning, coordinating, and defining evaluation processes, implementing, and developing the evaluation of the national education system, as well as identifying relevant information, defining and implementing data-gathering systems and processes.
Educational system and school evaluation is the responsibility of the Inspectorate-General of Education and Science (IGEC), the Directorate General for Education and Science Statistics (DGEEC), and the Institute of Educational Assessment (IAVE, I.P.) (Decree-Law no. 125/2011, 29th December).
See Subchapter 11.1 Quality Assurance in Early Childhood and School Education for more detailed information.
The Ministry of Education's departments provide written reports with both quantitative and qualitative break down, as well as a three-year report providing a diagnosis and prospective analysis of the education system.
Evaluation results should facilitate concrete proposals on, among others:
- the organisation of the education system;
- curriculum structure;
- initial and in-service teacher training;
- school autonomy, administration and management;
- a range of incentives and support for schools;
- the school networks;
- student evaluation system.
School and teachers’ evaluation is divided into two categories: internal and external.
- Internal evaluation (self-evaluation) is undertaken by the school itself. The system regulates and enforces self-evaluation, which "must be ongoing and supported by the educational administration". Teacher self-evaluation occurs annually and refers to the work done during this period. It consists of a self-evaluation report that expects teacher to identify opportunities for professional development, improving teaching processes and students' school results.
- External evaluation is undertaken by the Inspectorate-General of Education and Science (IGEC), a central body of the Ministry of Education. This is conducted nationally or by educational area, in general or specialised terms. Among other things, it is based on normative conformity assessments of pedagogical and didactic actions, as well as administration and management, including their efficiency and effectiveness. According to Regulatory Decree No 26/2012, 21 February, external evaluation of teachers focusses on class observation and monitoring of teachers’ pedagogical and scientific practice. This is done a pool of assessors who are teachers from all recruitment groups. For more information on teacher evaluation for career progression purposes, see Subchapter 9.2 - Conditions of service for teachers working in early childhood and school education.
Education and training provision for young people is subject to internal and external quality assurance. Vocational schools, alongside private and cooperative schools and the public school network, are responsible for providing dual education and vocational training courses for young people in compulsory schooling.
- Internal evaluation is the responsibility of schools according to internal criteria and involves school, teacher, and student self-evaluation. In terms of quality assurance, vocational schools must implement systems that focus on educational processes and student results, in coordination with the European Quality Assurance Reference Framework for Vocational Education and Training (EQAVET) (see Decree Law No 92/2014, 20 June).
- External evaluation of education and training provision for young people is regulated by Decree-Law No 92/2014, 20 June. In addition to establishing the legal framework of private and public vocational schools at non-higher education level, regulating their creation, organisation and operation, this legislation also determines state authority and supervision over them. The Ministry of Education is responsible for external evaluation, assessing the pedagogical and scientific quality of the teaching in private and public vocational schools. IGEC oversees supervision and ensures the law is obeyed and sanctions are applied to schools when necessary.
ANQEP, I.P. is responsible for monitoring vocational school evaluation, the implementation of quality assurance systems and the certification of schools as EQAVET systems.
See more detailed information on external evaluation of education and training provision for young people (including dual certification provision for young people in public upper secondary schools) in Subchapter 11.1 - Quality Assurance in Early Childhood and School Education.
According to Regulatory Decree No 26/2012, 21 February, external teacher evaluation is focussed on class observation and monitoring pedagogical and scientific practice. For this purpose, a pool of assessors is set up and trained by teachers from all the recruitment groups. For more information on teacher evaluation for career progression, see Subchapter 9.2 - Conditions of Service for Teachers Working in Early Childhood and School Education.
Quality assurance in higher education
Higher education quality assurance is both internal and external, including international evaluation at different levels. Being compulsory, if refused, study cycle accreditation is cancelled, and an investigation of institutional operating conditions launched with the subsequent legal consequences.
Internal quality assurance is conducted by higher education institutions (HEIs) according to their own regulations, as part of their institutional autonomy. HEIs have their own internal quality assurance systems, which must include teacher assessment.
In the drafting of Law No 38/2007, 16 August, which approves the legal framework for higher education assessment, via Decree-Law No 369/2007, 5 November, the Portuguese state created the Agency for Assessment and Accreditation of Higher Education (Agência de Avaliação e Acreditação do Ensino Superior - A3ES). This body is responsible for the assessment and accreditation of higher education institutions and their study cycles, as well as Portugal’s duties in the European system of higher education quality assurance. A3ES does not undertake individual teacher evaluation.
More detailed information can be found in Subchapter 11.2 - Quality Assurance in Higher Education.
Quality assurance in adult education and training
The National Qualifications System (SNQ) includes system quality principles, which should ensure vocational education and training quality through:
- the National Qualifications Catalogue (CNQ),
- the adoption of quality assurance systems aligned with the principles of the European Quality Assurance Reference Framework for Vocational Education and Training,
- the certification of training bodies,
- the qualification of trainers and other training technicians,
- the periodic evaluation of their results.
The quality of SNQ also depends on school and vocational information and guidance, as well as public funding of vocational training.
The departments responsible for implementing education and vocational training policies also monitor them, collecting information relevant for their evaluation. The bodies responsible for devising vocational education and training policies assess their implementation, including the overall assessment of the SNQ.
As part of its responsibilities, the National Agency for Qualification and Vocational Education (ANQEP, IP) assumed key duties in this area, including:
- ensuring the continuous and permanent updating of the catalogue, within the scope of National Qualifications System (SNQ), i.e., the qualifications reference framework guiding training and recognition of acquired skills for certification purposes.
- coordinating and organising the structure of dual-certification education and training provision for young people and adults (Education and Training Provision Information and Management System), as well as employing diagnostic means that help align training provision and demand.
- coordinating and managing adult education and training mechanisms and provision via the Qualifica Centres network.
As the body responsible for the coordinating the European Agenda for Adult Learning Education in Portugal, ANQEP has applied to implement a global quality assurance model in adult education and training, as well as in Qualifica Centres.
This model should consider the principles enshrined in the European Quality Assurance Reference Framework for Vocational Education and Training (EQAVET), as well as analysis and proposals for recommendations resulting from the ongoing "Quality Assurance in Adult Education and Training" project. This has been developed by the OECD, which the European Commission designated for this purpose, following the Portuguese government’s request for support from the Structural Reform Support Programme (Programa de Apoio a Reformas Estruturais – PARE).
In this context, the guiding principles of the Qualifica Centres’ Quality Charter were presented, namely: • to ensure that adult qualification is of a high standard at Qualifica Centres • to improve effectiveness and efficiency by making them results-oriented • to foster Qualifica Centres’ autonomy and responsibility • to promote self-assessment and continuous improvement with all Qualifica Centres' activity The Qualifica Centres' Quality Charter aims to cover all its areas of intervention, from arrival to the monitoring the adult’s qualification pathway, inside or outside the Qualifica Centre.
More detailed information can be found in Subchapter 11.3 - Quality Assurance in Adult Education and Training.
Key quality assurance legislation
Early childhood and school education
Education Act - Chapter VII - development and evaluation of the educational system.
Law No. 5/97 10 February - Framework Law for Pre-School Education - Chapter VII - Evaluation and inspection.
Decree-Law No. 147/97, 11 June - Legal Framework for Pre-School Education Development - Article 16 - Evaluation.
Law No 31/2002, 20 December - approves the pre-school, basic and upper secondary education establishments’ evaluation system throughout the public, private, cooperative and solidarity network, defining general guidelines for self-evaluation and external evaluation. Part of this involves an evaluation programme of kindergartens and public basic and upper secondary schools that has been developed since 2006.
Decree-Law No 125/2011, 29 December - approves the Ministry of Education and Science Organic Law and establishes the Inspectorate-General of Education and Science’s (Inspeção-Geral da Educação e Ciência - IGEC) powers regarding education system quality (pre-school, basic, upper secondary and out-of-school education).
Regulatory Decree No 26/2012, 21 February - regulates the teaching staff performance assessment system in pre-school education and basic and upper secondary education, revoking Regulatory Decree no. 2/2010 23rd June.
Decree-Law No 92/2014, 20 June - establishes the legal framework of private and public vocational schools in non-higher education, regulating their creation, organisation, and operation, as well as the state’s authority and supervision regarding them.
Decree-Law No 448/79, 13 November - approves the University Higher Education Teaching Career Statute (Estatuto da Carreira Docente Universitária – ECDU) in public institutions, amended and republished by Decree-Law No 205/2009, 31 August and later amended by Law No 8/2010, 13 May.
Decree-Law No 185/81, 1 July - approves the Polytechnic Higher Education Teaching Career Statute (Estatuto de Carreira do Pessoal Docente do Ensino Superior Politécnico – ECPDESP) in public institutions, amended and republished by Decree-Law 207/2009, 31 August and later amended Law 7/2010, 13 May.
Decree-Law No 205/98, 11 July - creates the National Board for Higher Education Assessment (Conselho Nacional de Avaliação do Ensino Superior – CNAVES).
Law No 38/2007, 16 August - approves the legal framework for higher education quality assurance applied to all institutions and study cycles, as amended by Law No 94/2019 4 September.
Decree-Law No 369/2007, 5 November - establishes the Agency for Assessment and Accreditation of Higher Education and approves its statutes, as well as regulating certain important aspects of the accreditation of higher education institutions and study cycles.
Law No 49/2005, 30 August - amends the Education Act (Law No 46/86, 14 October), specifically regarding higher education.
Law No 37/2003, 22 August - amended by Laws No 49/2005, 30 August, No 62/2007, 10 September, Law No 68/2017, 9 August and No 42/2019, 21 June, which establishes the basis for higher education funding.
Decree-Law No 42/2005, 22 February - amended by Decree-Law No 107/2008, 25 June, which approves the principles governing mechanisms for creating European higher education.
Decree-Law No 74/2006, 24 March - approves the new legal framework for higher education degrees and diplomas, enshrining the accreditation of higher education study cycles and institutions (adaptation to Bologna) for the first time. by Decree-Law No 107/2008, 25 June, by Decree-Law No 230/2009, 14 September, and Decree-Law No 115/2013, amended and republished by Decree-Law No 65/2018, 16 August.
Law No 62/2007, 10 September - establishes the legal framework for higher education institutions, regulating their foundation, duties and organisation, the operations and responsibilities of their different bodies and departments, as well as how the state governs and supervises them.
Decree-Law No 133/2019, 3 September - approves the legal framework for distance learning.
Adult education and training
Decree-Law No 396/2007, 31 December - with the amendments introduced by Decree-Law No 14/2017, 26 January, which establishes the legal framework for the National Qualifications System (SNQ) and defines operational structure.