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

Journal Article

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.
This work is funded by CIEd—Research Centre on Education, projects UID/CED/1661/2013 and UID/CED/1661/2016, Institute of Education, University ofMinho, through national funds of FCT/MCTES-PT.


Year of publication: 2019


ISSN: 1874-8597

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