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Policy Implications of Achievement Testing Using Multilevel Models: The Case of Brazilian Elementary Schools

Menezes, Igor G.; Duran, Victor R.; Filho, Euclides J. Mendonça; Veloso, Tainã J.; Sarmento, Stella M. S.; Paget, Christine L.; Ruggeri, Kai


Victor R. Duran

Euclides J. Mendonça Filho

Tainã J. Veloso

Stella M. S. Sarmento

Christine L. Paget

Kai Ruggeri


Large-scale educational assessment has been established as source of descriptive, evaluative and interpretative information that influence educational policies worldwide throughout the last third of the twentieth century. In the 1990s the Brazilian Ministry of Education developed the National Basic Education Assessment System (SAEB) that regularly measures management, resource and contextual school features and academic achievement in public and private institutions. In 2005, after significant piloting and review of the SAEB, a new sampling strategy was taken and Prova Brasil became the new instrument used by the Ministry to assess skills in Portuguese (reading comprehension) and Mathematics (problem solving), as well as collecting contextual information concerning the school, principal, teacher, and the students. This study aims to identify which variables are predictors of academic achievement of fifth grade students on Prova Brasil. Across a large sample of students, multilevel models tested a large number of variables relevant to student achievement. This approach uncovered critical variables not commonly seen as significant in light of other achievement determinants, including student habits, teacher ethnicity, and school technological resources. As such, this approach demonstrates the value of MLM to appropriately nuanced educational policies that reflect critical influences on student achievement. Its implications for wider application for psychology studies that may have relevant impacts for policy are also discussed.


Menezes, I. G., Duran, V. R., Filho, E. J. M., Veloso, T. J., Sarmento, S. M. S., Paget, C. L., & Ruggeri, K. (2016). Policy Implications of Achievement Testing Using Multilevel Models: The Case of Brazilian Elementary Schools. Frontiers in Psychology, 7, Article 1727.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Oct 19, 2016
Online Publication Date Nov 23, 2016
Publication Date Nov 23, 2016
Deposit Date Jun 24, 2019
Publicly Available Date Oct 27, 2022
Journal Frontiers in Psychology
Electronic ISSN 1664-1078
Publisher Frontiers Media
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 7
Article Number 1727
Keywords Large-scale educational assessment; School achievement; Hierarchical linear modeling; Education policies; Brazilian education system
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Copyright Statement
Copyright © 2016 Menezes, Duran, Mendonça Filho, Veloso, Sarmento, Paget and Ruggeri. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

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