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The distinction of excellent students in the Portuguese state school as a strategy of educational marketing accountability

Abstract

The mechanisms of academic distinction of the best students, such as the Honours Boards of Excellence and Value, emerge in Portuguese state schools as important institutional management strategies for promoting the school image and attracting the best students. This is what the authors propose to discuss, and that they identify as being a new form of accountability—the educational marketing accountability. In other words, at the theoretical level, this article intends to explore the relationship between the results obtained by students, the promotion of academic excellence and a new form of accountability in the Portuguese non-higher education system. The empirical focus was the analysis of the institutional marketing strategies of management adopted by the head teachers and their impact on the school choice by the students. The authors used data from a questionnaire applied to students from four secondary schools who were asked to complete, interviews with head teachers and content analysis of documents from most Portuguese schools with academic distinction rituals. The research confirms the obsessive centrality of academic results in the daily management of schools; simultaneously, the distinction of the best students is an institutional marketing strategy that influences the choice of school, projects a desired social image and further reinforces the performance and leadership style of the head teachers.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    In the mapping that we performed for this research, we find a variety of designations relating to the mechanisms of academic distinction of merit and excellence in Portuguese schools: Honours boards of excellence, Honours boards of value, Merit grants, Special commendations, Endorsements of merit, Certificates of merit, Endorsements of excellence, Honourable mentions, Merit titles, Diplomas of merit, Diplomas of praise, Diplomas of honour, Honours boards of honour, Roll of honour, Honours boards of merit, Board of attendance, and Board of honourable behaviours.

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Correspondence to Leonor L. Torres.

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Torres, L.L., Palhares, J.A. & Afonso, A.J. The distinction of excellent students in the Portuguese state school as a strategy of educational marketing accountability. Educ Asse Eval Acc 31, 155–175 (2019) doi:10.1007/s11092-019-09298-4

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Keywords

  • Marketing accountability
  • Management school excellence
  • Academic results
  • Academic distinction