Assessment, Teaching and Learning in the Portuguese and brazilian Higher Education: realities and prespectives.

Cofinanciado por:
Project title | Assessment, Teaching and Learning in the Portuguese and brazilian Higher Education: realities and prespectives.
Project Code | PTDC/CPE-CED/114318/2009
Main objective |

Region of intervention |

Beneficiary entity |
  • Universidade de Lisboa - Faculdade de Psicologia e de Ciências da Educação(líder)
  • Universidade da Amazónia (UNAMA)(parceiro)
  • Universidade de Évora(parceiro)
  • Universidade do Estado do Pará (UEPA)(parceiro)
  • Universidade do Minho(parceiro)

Approval date | 01-11-2010
Start date | 05-04-2011
Date of the conclusion | 04-04-2014

Total eligible cost |
European Union financial support |
National/regional public financial support |


This research project is based on the assumption that teachers’ knowledge, conceptions and experience are related to the way they organise the teaching and the assessment. Consequently, there are relationships that should be described and understood among the teachers’ practices in the domains of education and assessment and the learning developed by their pupils. In particular, it is important to understand what teaching and assessment practices are related to improvement and the development of student learning. The seminal work of Black & Wiliam (1998) led to three results that are impossible to ignore: a) systematic formative assessment leads to much improved learning in all students; b) the students who most benefit from such practices are those who have greater learning difficulties; and c) the students who attend lessons where the overriding assessment is of a formative nature obtain better results in external exams than students who attend lessons in which the assessment is essentially summative. These results are especially relevant if we take into account the high failure and drop-out rates of higher education students in Brazil and Portugal (e.g. for a given cohort the completion rate in some courses is lower than 50%). Today it is generally accepted that assessment practices should involve the active participation of all the students and contribute unequivocally to their improved learning (e.g. Fernandes, 2009). However, for this to happen, it is essential that the assessment is integrated into the teaching and learning processes and that it is predominantly of a formative nature. The research we intend to carry out will take place in the background of various Portuguese and Brazilian university courses, using the framework of the aforementioned ideas and questions such as the following: How can one characterise the systems of teachers and students’ conceptions with regard to teaching, learning and assessment? How do the teachers organise the teaching and the assessment? What do they place more value on? What do they value the least? To what extent do the students take part in the development of their learning and the respective assessment? How can you describe the teaching, learning and assessment environments of the lessons in the different courses included in the research? What tasks are used? What is the relationship between the pupils and the teachers? What pedagogical styles tend to prevail? What teaching and assessment environments seem to be related to better and deeper learning by the students? To what extent is assessment to learn, assessment of a formative nature, part of the pedagogical make-up of the observed lessons and how is it related to summative assessment? How do the teachers and students use the processes and results of the assessments that occur in the classrooms? How can the observed assessment practices be related to the teaching practices and the learning? Therefore, the overriding aim of the research is to describe, analyse and interpret the teaching and assessment carried out in different Portuguese and Brazilian university courses. The main idea is to understand the relations between such practices and the improvement in the students’ learning and their academic success. The importance and the innovative nature of this study derives from the absence of research on the topic in the two participating countries and the fact that extensive, intensive and integrated research will be carried out in Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities, Science and Technology and Health Science Courses. The expected results may help to understand the assessment through learning in higher education, and as such will contribute to the production of knowledge and the theoretical reflection in an area that has been clearly neglected by the research. The results can be relevant for the reformulation and improvement of educational and instruction projects in higher education institutions, pedagogical practices and teacher training policies for higher education professors. The research team includes undergraduates and post-graduates from the universities involved. The Head Researcher and Project Coordinator, Prof. Domingos Fernandes, is responsible for the general articulation and integration of the team members. The project includes the following researchers from Portugal: Prof. Pedro Rodrigues and Prof. Cely Nunes (University of Lisboa), Prof. Maria Palmira Alves (University of Minho), Prof. Carlos Barreira (University of Coimbra), Prof. António Borralho (University of Évora), and from Brazil, Prof. Albêne Lis Monteiro (University of Amazónia), Prof. Emmanuel Ribeiro Cunha (University of do Pará/University of aAmazónia), Prof. Rosa Helena Nogueira Pernambuco (UUniversity of aAmazónia), Prof. Luzia Maciel Cascaes (University of Amazónia) and Prof. Denice Catani (University of São Paulo)

Objectives, activities and expected/achieved results

O objectivo central da investigação foi descrever, analisar e interpretar práticas de ensino e de avaliação desenvolvidas em diferentes cursos de universidades portuguesas e brasileiras. A ideia principal era compreender as relações entre tais práticas, a melhoria das aprendizagens dos alunos e o seu sucesso académico. A importância e a natureza inovadora deste estudo decorrem da ausência de investigações sobre este tema nos dois países participantes e do facto de se prever uma investigação extensiva, intensiva e integrada em cursos de Ciências Sociais, Artes e Humanidades, Ciências e Tecnologias e Ciências da Saúde.