Journal of the Operational Research Society

, Volume 63, Issue 8, pp 1098–1115 | Cite as

Performance assessment of secondary schools: the snapshot of a country taken by DEA

General Paper


This paper describes a performance assessment of Portuguese secondary schools using data envelopment analysis (DEA). The assessment adopts a perspective where schools are viewed as promoting students achievement given their characteristics in terms of academic abilities and socio-economic background. Our sample comprised all secondary schools in Portugal with both basic and secondary education levels. Two types of DEA analysis are performed: one using an output-oriented model that restricts output (exam scores) weights to be linked to the number of students that have done that exam in the school, and the other using a model that restricts factor weights to be equal for all schools. In this model the weight restrictions are linked to the total number of exams done nationally. The first model is well suited for identifying worst performing schools and to assess schools that may specialize in certain subjects, whereas the latter is best suited for improving discrimination between best performing schools when pursuing the identification of benchmarks, as well as to construct performance rankings.


data envelopment analysis secondary schools weight restrictions single weights 


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Copyright information

© Operational Research Society 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Universidade Católica PortuguesaPortugal
  2. 2.Faculdade de Engenharia da Universidade do PortoPortugal

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