This article focuses on teachers’ perceptions of the implementation and impact in Portuguese schools of a wide-ranging and long-term reading promotion programme. The Portuguese National Reading Plan (PNRP) was a public policy initiative whose purpose was to increase literacy levels and reading habits among the population. The Plan identified schools as its priority and launched a series of nationwide projects to target schools. The evaluation of this programme, based on mixed methods, focused on teachers’ perceptions as the central issue because teachers were key actors in the PNRP and their involvement was crucial to the achievement of the programme’s goals. Teachers considered that the PNRP had a relevant impact on school activities and students’ attitudes but were more cautious concerning students’ reading skills. The results that are presented in this article can contribute to a wider discussion regarding the involvement of teachers in national educational policies in which they are key agents.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Subscribe to journal
Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
The Portuguese education system is divided into the following levels: pre-school (3 years of age to school age), basic 1st cycle (6–9 years of age), basic 2nd cycle (10–11 years of age), basic 3rd cycle (12–14 years of age), secondary (15–17 years of age) and higher education. In this article, we use the following terminology for clarity: pre-primary (3 years of age to school age), primary 1st cycle (6–9 years of age), primary 2nd cycle (10–11 years of age), lower secondary (12–14 years of age), upper secondary (15–17 years of age) and higher education. Further information regarding the organizational structure of the Portuguese educational system and on educational assessment in Portugal can be found in Fernandes (2009).
In the methodology and results sections of this article, “school” means an organizational unit with its own administrative and management bodies, comprising educational establishments in the same geographical area with one or more levels of schooling and a shared pedagogical project.
Ávila, P. (2008). A literacia dos adultos. Competências-chave na sociedade do conhecimento (Adult literacy. Key competencies in the knowledge society). Lisbon: Celta Editora.
Ávila, P. (2009). Literacy and social inequalities in the knowledge society. In A. F. Costa, F. L. Machado, & P. Ávila (Eds.), Portugal in the European context, vol. II: Knowledge and society (pp. 21–43). Oeiras: Celta.
Bahous, R., & Nabhani, M. (2011). Assessing education program learning outcomes. Educational Assessment, Evaluation and Accountability, 23, 21–39. doi:10.1007/s11092-010-9112-0.
Barton, D. (2007). Literacy: An introduction to the ecology of written language. Malden: Blackwell Publishing.
Bean, R., Draper, J., Turner, G., & Zigmond, N. (2010). Reading First in Pennsylvania: Achievement findings after five years. Journal of Literacy Research, 42(1), 5–26. doi:10.1080/10862960903583244.
Benavente, A., Rosa, A., Costa, A. F., & Ávila, P. (1996). A literacia em Portugal: Resultados de uma pesquisa extensiva e monográfica (Literacy in Portugal: results from an extensive and monographic research). Lisbon: Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian / Conselho Nacional de Educação.
Borman, G. D., Hewes, G. M., Overman, L. T., & Brown, S. A. (2002). Comprehensive school reform and student achievement: A meta-analysis. CRESPAR technical report no. 59. Baltimore, MD: CRESPAR, Johns Hopkins University. http://www.csos.jhu.edu/CRESPAR/TechReports/Report59.pdf. Accessed 27 March 2012.
Bryman, A. (2004). Social research methods (2nd ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Carey, S., Bridgwood, A., Thomas, M., & Ávila, P. (2000). Adult literacy in Portugal. In S. Carey (Ed.), Measuring adult literacy: The international adult literacy survey in the European context (pp. 218–238). London: ONS.
Carlisle, J. F., Cortina, K. S., & Zeng, J. (2010). Reading achievement in Reading First Schools in Michigan. Journal of Literacy Research, 42(1), 49–70. doi:10.1080/10862960903583236.
Cassany, D. (2006). Rere les línies (behind the lines). Barcelona: Empúries.
Cassany, D. (2008). Prácticas letradas contemporâneas (Contemporary literacy practices). México: Ríos de Tinta.
Clark, C., & Foster, A. (2005). Children’s and young people’s reading habits and preferences: the who, what, why, where and when. London: National Literacy Trust. http://www.literacytrust.org.uk/research/nlt_research/. Accessed 6 January 2012.
Cornachione, E. B, Jr, Trombetta, M. R., & Casa Nova, S. P. C. (2010). Evaluation use and involvement of internal stakeholders: The case of a new non-degree online program in Brazil. Studies in Educational Evaluation, 36, 69–81. doi:10.1016/j.stueduc.2010.09.001.
Costa, A. F. (2003). Competências para a sociedade educativa (skills for learning society). In A. Quintanilha, et al. (Eds.), Cruzamento de saberes: Aprendizagens sustentáveis (intersection of knowledges: sustainable learning) (pp. 179–194). Lisbon: Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian.
Costa, A. F., & Ávila, P. (1998). Problemas da/de literacia (literacy problems). Ler História, 35, 127–150.
Costa, A. F., Pegado, E., Ávila, P., & Coelho, A. R. (2010). Avaliação do programa rede de bibliotecas escolares (Evaluation of the school libraries network programme). Lisbon: RBE - Ministério da Educação. http://www.rbe.min-edu.pt/np4/file/31/978_972_742_3194.pdf. Accessed 1 March 2010.
Costa, A. F., Pegado, E., Ávila, P., & Coelho, A. R. (2011). Avaliação do plano nacional de leitura: Os primeiros cinco anos (Evaluation of the national reading plan: The first five years). Lisbon: GEPE-Ministério da Educação. http://www.gepe.min-edu.pt/np4/?newsId=364fileName=PNL_5anos.pdf. Accessed 1 September 2011.
Costa, A. F., Pegado, E., Ávila, P., & Coelho, A. R. (2013). Mixed-methods evaluation in complex programmes: The national reading plan in Portugal. Evaluation and Program Planning, 39, 1–9. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.evalprogplan.2013.02.001.
DfEE. (1998). The national literacy strategy: Framework for teaching. London: Department for Education and Employment.
Ding, C. S. (2009). Measurement issues in designing and implementing longitudinal evaluation studies. Educational Assessment, Evaluation and Accountability, 21, 155–171. doi:10.1007/s11092-008-9067-6.
EU Read. (2011). EU Read projects. http://www.euread.com/projects. Accessed 30 September 2011.
Fernandes, Domingos. (2009). Educational assessment in Portugal. Assessment in Education: Principles, Policy & Practice, 16(2), 227–247. doi:10.1080/09695940903076055.
Flores, M. A. (2012). The implementation of a new policy on teacher appraisal in Portugal: How do teachers experience it at school? Educational Assessment, Evaluation and Accountability, 24, 351–368. doi:10.1007/s11092-012-9153-7.
Foorman, B. R., Petscher, Y., Lefsky, E. B., & Toste, J. R. (2010). Reading first in Florida: Five years of improvement. Journal of Literacy Research, 42(1), 71–93. doi:10.1080/10862960903583202.
Gamse, B. C., Jacob, R. T., Horst, M., Boulay, B., & Unlu, F. (2008). Reading first impact study final report. Washington D.C.: U.S. Department of Education. http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/pdf/20094038.pdf. Accessed 27 March 2012.
Giannakaki, M. S. (2005). Using mixed-methods to examine teachers’ attitudes to educational change: The case of the skills for life strategy for improving adult literacy and numeracy skills in England. Educational Research and Evaluation, 11(4), 323–348. doi:10.1080/13803610500110687.
Griswold, W., McDonnell, T., & Wright, N. (2005). Reading and the reading class in the twenty-first century. Annual Review of Sociology, 31, 127–141. doi:10.1146/annurev.soc.31.041304.122312.
Hartas, D. (2012). Inequality at the home learning environment: Predictions about seven-year-olds’ language and literacy. British Educational Research Journal, 38(5), 859–879. doi:10.1080/01411926.2011.588315.
Hattie, J. (2006). Cross-age tutoring and the reading together program. Studies in Educational Evaluation, 32, 100–124. doi:10.1016/j.stueduc.2006.04.003.
Hindin, A., & Paratore, J. R. (2007). Supporting young children’s literacy learning through home-school partnerships: The effectiveness of a home repeated-reading intervention. Journal of Literacy Research, 39(3), 307–333. doi:10.1080/10862960701613102.
Hopkins, D., Youngman, M., Harris, A., & Wordsworth, J. (1999). Evaluation of the initial effects and implementation of success for all in England. Journal of Research in Reading, 22(3), 257–270. doi:10.1111/1467-9817.00089.
Kelly-Vance, L., & Schreck, D. (2002). The impact of a collaborative family/school reading programme on student reading rate. Journal of Research in Reading, 25(1), 43–53. doi:10.1111/1467-9817.00157.
Kraaykamp, G. (2003). Literary socialization and reading preferences: Effects of parents, the library, and the school. Poetics, 31, 235–257. doi:10.1016/S0304-422X(03)00033-0.
Lahire, B. (2004). Formas de lectura estudiantil y categorías escolares de la comprensión de la lectura (Ways of student reading and school categories of reading comprehension). In B. Lahire (Ed.), Sociología de la lectura (sociology of reading) (pp. 149–178). Barcelona: Editorial Gedisa.
Leong, W. S. (2014). Knowing the intentions, meaning and context of classroom assessment: A case study of Singaporean teacher’s conception and practice. Studies in Educational Evaluation. doi:10.1016/j.stueduc.2013.12.005.
Morciano, D., Scardigno, A. F., Manuti, A., & Pastore, S. (2014). An evaluation study of youth participation in youth work: A case study in Southern Italy. Educational Research for Policy and Practice, 13(1), 81–100. doi:10.1007/s10671-013-9150-8.
Murray, T. S. (2003). Reflections on international competence assessments. In D. S. Rychen & L. H. Salganik (Eds.), Key competencies for a successful life and a well-functioning society (pp. 135–160). Gottingen: Hogrefe & Huber Publishers.
Murray, T. S., Desjardins, R., Coulombe, S., & Tremblay, J.F. (2009). The economic dimensions of literacy in Portugal: A review. Lisbon: Office for Education Statistics and Planning. http://www.gepe.min-edu.pt/np4/?newsId=364&fileName=The_Economic_Dimensions_of_Literacy_in_P.pdf. Accessed 29 September 2011.
Neves, J. S., Lima, M. J., & Borges, V. (2007). Práticas de promoção da Leitura nos países da OCDE (Reading promotion practices in OECD countries). Lisbon: OAC (projects database: http://www.planonacionaldeleitura.gov.pt/dbpnl). Accessed 13 August 2009.
OECD. (2000–2011). Education at a glance. Paris: OECD.
OECD. (2007). A profile of student performance in reading and mathematics from PISA 2000 to PISA 20006. In PISA 2006: Science competencies for tomorrow’s world (pp. 283–325). Paris: OECD.
OECD. (2010a). PISA 2009 results: What students know and can do. Student performance in reading, mathematics and science (Vol. I). Paris: OECD. doi:10.1787/9789264091450-en.
OECD. (2010b). PISA 2009 results: Learning trends. Changes in student performance since 2000 (Vol. V). Paris: OECD. doi:10.1787/9789264091580-en.
OECD. (2013). PISA 2012 results: What students know and can do. Student performance in Mathematics, Reading and Science (Vol. I). Paris: OECD. doi:10.1787/9789264201118-en.
OECD & Statistics Canada. (2000). Literacy in the information age: Final report of the international adult literacy survey. Paris: OECD.
Ofsted. (2002). The national literacy strategy: The first four years 1998–2002. London: Ofsted.
Papen, U. (2005). Adult literacy as social practice. New York: Routledge.
Park, H. (2008). Home literacy environments and children’s reading performance: A comparative study of 25 countries. Educational Research and Evaluation, 14(6), 489–505. doi:10.1080/13803610802576734.
Phelps, G. (2009). Just knowing how to read isn’t enough! Assessing knowledge for teaching reading. Educational Assessment, Evaluation and Accountability, 21, 137–154. doi:10.1007/s11092-009-9070-6.
Poulson, L., & Avramidis, E. (2003). Pathways and possibilities in professional development: Case studies of effective teachers of literacy. British Educational Research Journal, 29(4), 543–560. doi:10.1080/01411920301846.
Rasmussen, A., & Friche, N. (2011). Roles of assessment in secondary education: Participant perspectives. Educational Assessment, Evaluation and Accountability, 23, 113–129. doi:10.1007/s11092-010-9113-z.
Reading Worldwide. (2011). Reading worldwide: Countries (projects database). http://www.lesen-weltweit.de/zeigen_e.html?seite=6420. Accessed 30 September 2011.
Rvachew, S., & Savage, R. (2006). Preschool foundations of early reading acquisition. Paediatrics and Child Health, 11(9), 589–593.
Rychen, D. S., & Salganik, L. H. (Eds.). (2003). Key competencies for a successful life and a well-functioning society. Gottingen: Hogrefe & Huber Publishers.
Saunders, J. (2006). The school libraries network in Portugal. In School libraries in view 22. http://www.cilip.org.uk/get-involved/special-interest-groups/school/publications/journal/sliv-22/pages/sliv22e.aspx. Accessed 21 February 2011.
Small, M. L. (2011). How to conduct a mixed methods study: Recent trends in a rapidly growing literature. Annual Review of Sociology, 37, 57–86. doi:10.1146/annurev.soc.012809.102657.
Sylva, K., Hurry, J., Mirelman, H., Burrell, A., & Riley, J. (1999). Evaluation of a focused literacy teaching programme in reception and year 1 classes: Classroom observations. British Educational Research Journal, 25(5), 617–635. doi:10.1080/0141192990250504.
This research was supported by the Office of Educational Statistics and Planning at the Portuguese Ministry of Education. However, the content of this article represents only the views of the authors. The authors wish to thank the anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments and suggestions on an earlier version of this article.
About this article
Cite this article
da Costa, A.F., Pegado, E., Ávila, P. et al. Evaluating the Portuguese National Reading Plan: teachers’ perceptions on the impact in schools. Educ Res Policy Prac 14, 119–138 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10671-014-9171-y
- Programme evaluation
- Evaluation methods
- Teachers’ perceptions
- Reading promotion