International assessment, curriculum policy induction and instruction time management: Lessons from Portuguese experience

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Our analysis focuses on a set of education policies and measures that have been adopted by Portugal since 2000 in comparison with diferente instruments promoted by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the European institutions. Among these education policies, we will take into account those that have a direct or indirect impact on curriculum and its development, such as changes in curricular organization, instruction time per subject, national testing and external evaluation of schools. Among the instruments we will particularly analyse the effects of the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) studies.
We conclude that the regularity of the PISA tests and their technical accuracy have imposed them as the principal means of diagnostic of education systems at the international scale. The results of these tests have influenced the external assessment of learning and the institutionalization of the external evaluation of schools. The combined effect of those instruments over the curriculum is probably more evident in their appropriation and development by schools and teachers following flexible curriculum management policies, and not so coherent when it comes to establishing a minimum fixed instruction time for what is considered elementary or fundamental knowledge (maths and reading literacy) at the expense of the third domain of the PISA tests (science).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)671-691
Number of pages20
JournalEuropean Journal of Curriculum Studies
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Transnational regulation
  • PISA
  • Prescribed curriculum
  • National testing


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