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Educação & Realidade

Print version ISSN 0100-3143On-line version ISSN 2175-6236

Educ. Real. vol.43 no.4 Porto Alegre Oct./Dec. 2018 


Evaluation Policies and Educational Management: articulations, interfaces and tensions

Suzana dos Santos GomesI 

Savana Diniz Gomes de MeloI 

IUniversidade Federal de Minas Gerais (UFMG), Belo Horizonte/MG - Brazil


This article shows notes on evaluation and management in Basic Education and Higher Education, identifying articulations, interfaces, repercussions and tensions. The results indicate that the public policies for the field since 1990 have a shared characteristic: they are based on commercial conceptions and purposes; are connected to all levels of education; and its effects have brought tensions and criticism. These require further study. Attention is drawn to the threat of privatization of federal universities, which endangers the quality of education, the situation of teachers, and the essence and purpose of these universities, subverting the concept of democratic management.

Keywords: Educational Management; Evaluation Policies; Basic Education; Higher Education


O artigo apresenta apontamentos sobre avaliação e gestão na Educação Básica e na Educação Superior, identificando articulações, interfaces, repercussões e tensões. Os resultados indicam que as políticas públicas para a área a partir de 1990 possuem um eixo comum: se pautam em concepções e fins mercantis; estão imbricadas em todos os níveis de ensino; e seus efeitos têm acarretado tensões e críticas. Estas requerem aprofundamento de estudos. Chama-se a atenção para a ameaça de privatização das universidades federais, o que coloca em risco a qualidade do ensino, a condição dos professores e a própria essência e finalidade dessas universidades, subvertendo a concepção de gestão democrática.

Palavras-chave: Gestão Educacional; Políticas de Avaliação; Educação Básica; Educação Superior.


The themes of Educational Management and Evaluation Policies have never been more controversial than in the current context in which both fields were and continue to be the target of profound changes that have controversial consequences. For this reason, they have also been both objects of contumacious studies and surveys, comprehensive and significant nationally and internationally, and of critical manifestations, coming from students, teachers, academic organizations and trade unions, among others. Thus, this thematic section focuses on these themes seeking to contribute to the debate, with different approaches, cuts and national contexts.

In this introductory text, the aim is to reveal, by exploring some notes from theoretical-methodological productions of the field, the following provocative question: what articulations, interfaces and tensions can be identified between evaluation and management?

In fact, Educational Management and Evaluation Policies are fields of action that guide and regulate the educational process in Brazil and in the world. The centrality of these fields was exacerbated in the country and in other scenarios since the 1990s. With the global economic crisis of capitalism, restructurings in the productive sector, redefinitions in the role and work of the State, imposition of structural adjustments and a set of circumstances and measures require and impute deep losses of social and labor rights to all workers.

As a consequence, in recent years we have faced numerous challenges in the policies implemented in Brazil, in Latin America and in several countries with serious repercussions on the educational policy.

Therefore, it is relevant to highlight that this process of reformulation occurs in a context in which education professionals promoted debates and demanded the improvement of the quality of education, advancement of workers’ rights, guarantee of public funding for public education, implementation of democratic management in institutions, among other topics pointed by various subjects in different spheres of society. Thus, demands for improvement in public education occurred and included the valorization of the teaching profession, through public procurements, career plan, remuneration, stability, among others.

Thus, from the 1990s on, management and evaluation gained relevance in education, and are bases of the educational policies adopted, which was clearly expressed in the Law of Directives and Bases of National Education (LDBEN), approved in 1996, and in many other Brazilian laws. The new legal framework reshapes school education, through policies, programs, processes and practices that are interconnected in different aspects and under different devices, producing a new regulation, with much more control by the managers of the systems that cause significant changes in the performance of the subjects, in the daily life of school institutions, and in their results. This context of new regulation also increases discussions and debates inside academic institutions, as well as in their academic and union organizations, with expressions of both adherence and resistance to the new educational model advocated. In this context, studies on management and evaluation have expanded under different approaches and cuts.

The preliminary bibliographic and documentary search on management and evaluation carried out in this study allowed identifying diverse themes and issues in the productions. Martins and Sousa (2011), for example, analyzed productions that explored the relationships between school management and evaluation. The authors rested on dissertations and theses, journal articles and annals of the Brazilian National Association of Postgraduation and Research in Education (Anped) and the National Association of Education Policies and Administration (Anpae). The studies were divided into four groups, namely performance evaluation and the role of the school; characteristics of results of performance evaluation in students with profiles of rights and management models; educational evaluation processes; use of results of performance evaluation to analyze policies implemented and actions for management of education systems. The state of knowledge in question raises questions and perspectives for the management of networks and schools. According to the authors,

[...] the link of the management with evaluation results, particularly large-scale evaluations, which was announced in studies of the field long ago, tends to strengthen at the same time that actions for institutional self-assessment emerge, even if in a discrete manner, as appropriation by the school of regulation of its own pathways4 (Martins; Sousa, 2012, p. 12).

Educational management is a frequent theme in the literature on education, especially from 1988 on, with the introduction of the principle of “democratic management in the form of the law” in the Federal Constitution of 1988, and has been reaffirmed in the current educational legislation, highlighting that this is the management expected to be put into practice in Brazilian education systems (Brasil, 1988).

On the term management, Cury (2002) points that “management” comes from the Latin verb “gero”, “gerere” and means to execute, to exercise, to generate, to gestate, which implies an action of the subject in the construction of something new. In this sense, management involves people, interlocution, dialogue, aiming at solutions to the problems.

According to the author,

[...] management is democratic in itself, since it is translated by communication, collective involvement and dialogue. Although the Constitution of 1988 inscribed the term democratic management, which was later endorsed by the Law of Directives and Bases of 1996, current writings on school management shows the term administration continues to be used, however, most often with a meaning different from that historically used, encompassing the political-pedagogical dimension (Cury, 2002, p. 165).

Also, the Federal Constitution of 1988, when presenting a new configuration of the management of public policies and instituting new mechanisms in the decision-making processes, brings out a decentralized public action regime, in which forms of interaction between government and society are created.

The LDBEN (Law 9.394/96) in art. 3, item 7, shows the constitutional principle of democratic management of public education and establishes that this management should take place in the form of law and legislation of education systems. On this issue, art. 14, items 1 and 2, establishes that the principles of democratic management of education systems should ensure as principles: the “participation of education professionals in the conception of the school’s pedagogical project” and of the school and local communities in school councils or their equivalent. (Brasil, 1996).

Subsequently, the Brazilian National Plan for Education (PNE) 2001-2011, approved by means of Law 10.172/2001 (Brasil, 2001), reaffirms the constitutional content. The defense of democratic management is among the principles of teacher education and valorization of teaching. The basis for Financing and Management provides for the implementation of Education Councils, within the scope of the system, in the form of school councils with representation of the educational community, within the scope of schools.

Regarding educational management, the reference document and the final document of the Brazilian National Conference on Education (CONAE, 2010) reaffirmed the constitutional principle of democratic management, conceiving it as a space for collective deliberation, aimed at guaranteeing public education of social quality and the building of a society based on social justice, equality and democracy; and as an important factor for the promotion of the improvement in the quality of education, as well as of State education policies. (Brasil, 2010).

Democratic management is also emphasized in the new PNE (2014-2024). Law 13.005 /2014 (Brasil, 2014) presents as a principle (art. 2, VI) and as a method of construction of the 10-year development plans for education (art. 8, paragraph 2) and defines a period of two years for its implementation. The goal 19 of the PNE shows eight strategies related to democratic management, concerning: constitution, formation and maintenance of collegiate bodies (councils, forums, associations); participation of families and of education professionals; social control and monitoring of public resources, and choice of directors, through merit, performance and public consultation. Regarding educational management, the PNE (2014-2024), in its goal 7, shows the democratic education as the concept of education. In its goal 19, it established that, through a specific law approved at the state and municipal levels, the commissioned appointment of school principals linked to technical criteria of merit and performance, as well as the participation of the school community, by applying a state specific exam, should be guaranteed to subsidize the definition of objective criteria for the filling of positions of school principals. This procedure is not typical of the democratic management of education, since it only provides for the election of directors as a criterion for the filling of such position.

Since the 1990s, the introduction of a liberalizing project attuned to the economic transformations that were occurring throughout the world was verified. The actions focused on education begun to present characteristics of educational management and, in Brazil, these characteristics also had space in its agenda for education (Dourado, 2007).

In the regulatory sphere, democratic management is still established as the conception of management that should be applied in Brazilian education; however, the incorporation of managerial management has been occurring in the main actions of the Union in this government.

According to Castro (2007), managerial educational management is an administrative process, which adheres to managerial guidelines and is based on results and performance indicators to promote educational success. This management model emphasizes efficiency, efficacy, effectiveness, autonomy, administrative decentralization, merit, performance evaluation and productivity and is aimed at the public interest.

Although theorically many actions aimed at the management of education showed mechanisms and/or procedures that are pointed out by the literature on education as typical of the conception of democratic management of education, in practice the mechanisms created in the education systems, instead of prioritizing an education democratization and emancipation, building it with the participation of the school community and according to the yearnings of the latter, a managerial management has gradually been implemented and consolidated, mainly aiming at obtaining results, not at education for integral development of the students through a human and critical formation, in which these individuals know and defend their rights and duties.

Thus, the discourse of improving management in schools and educational systems, with the predominance of training processes focused on qualifying education professionals, as well as civil society, concerning practices and participatory decentralization, attempting to distribute power, according to the assumptions of a political-participative project of government, contradicts the practice of centralization and control of schools by the top of the system and the consequent reduced autonomy of schools, directly affecting both directors and teachers.

Castro (2009) states that the 1990s in Brazil were marked by the advance of the Educational Evaluation Policy, since in the same period the implementation of several actions contributing to the implementation of the current evaluation system was verified, which allows gauging “at all educational levels and modalities, [...] which have consolidated an effective educational evaluation policy” (Castro, 2009, p. 5). For the author, due to the Brazilian investment in the evaluation system, the country currently has a modern, broad, complex and comprehensive evaluation system that, in addition to covering all levels of education, is also responsible for the production of information “that guides educational policies in all levels of education in Brazil “(Castro, 2009, p. 8).

This advance was associated with the growing national control over the evaluation processes marked by uniformities of styles, practices, and increase in evaluation actions, with the consequent extension of its scope for intervention.

In studies on evaluation policies, Fernandes (2017) analyzed the interpretive models presented by Afonso (2009) to understand the context of reforms in which the evaluation is of central importance. According to the author, the first is presented as a theory of consensus based on the functionalist assumption that a consensus among the subjects driven by the permanent demands for changes imposed by the social system would exist. The second is presented as a theory of competition and conflict, emphasizing the “instability inherent in the social system because of struggles resulting from the inequalities of resources and power” (Afonso, 2009, 64). For the author, both approaches are restricted to the role of the State as mediator or manager of the contradictions inherent in the various social systems. The third explanatory model proposed by Afonso (2009) analyzes the reforms by the “cultural convergence” movement that would be being promoted by international agencies in search of standardization of educational structures and practices in different countries. Finally, the fourth and last explanatory model is characterized as a paradigm of conflict, with emphasis on the “specificities of the place of domination/subordination occupied at a given time by each country in the world capitalist system” (Afonso, 2009, p. 64).

One of the main changes in the last decades is the phenomenon of globalization, which contributes to the valorization of the third and fourth explanatory model among the analyses of the reforms adopted by different Western States (Fernandes, 2017, p. 31).

Also according to Afonso (2009), the bulletins from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and UNESCO documents show “a renewed interest in the evaluation that has driven reforms in countries in Europe, such as England, Spain and Portugal, as well as in the United States and Latin American countries such as Brazil and Argentina.

In this sense,

a scenario of changes is observed, which is a contradictory aspect of educational reforms, since budget austerity is accompanied by a desire to improve the quality of education that, according to those in favor of reforms, could be achieved by improving school efficiency and effectiveness. This improvement could be achieved by rationalizing the evaluation process responsible for greater transparency of results (Fernandes, 2017, p. 32).

Ball (2002) also highlighted the evaluative emphasis on different countries, in the globalization context. According to Ball, performativity is inserted in a context of education reform that “relates to markets, management, [...] with changes in the nature of the State in the political discourse” (Ball, 2002, p. 4).

The author seeks to understand the discourse that announces the benefits of education reform to analyze the subjectivities behind these interests.

Consistent with this perspective, Fernandes (2017) draws attention to the commercial logic prevalent in education, focusing on the identity of teachers and requiring the so-called “performativity”. For Fernandes:

[...] these processes should not be understood as strategies of ‘deregulation’, but rather as new forms of regulation of a more liberal and self-regulated nature, in which the State assumes a new form of control. On the whole of these transformations, new teacher’s identities have been forged from the concept of performativity, management and ideas inspired by the commercial logic (Fernandes, 2017, p. 33).

As well as in the teacher’s profile and role, the installation of a competitive performativity culture establishes new elements in the school organization, leading the professional to assume responsibility and at the same time to commit to the results achieved through assessments of the learning processes. This approach indicates a new vision on management introduced in the school organization responsible for changes in teacher’s identity.

For Fernandes (2017), the research proposals that analyze whether in fact, as Ball affirms, performativity precludes critical knowledge, democracy, ethics or autonomy of teachers become emerging. Researchers in the field of educational policies have criticized the effects of educational reforms on teacher’s identity, since the 1990s. These studies bring important elements for thinking about the transformations occurred. Oliveira shares Ball’s perspective by stating that

[...] the external examinations promoted by the national assessment systems, the permanent search for measuring students’ academic achievement and the family’s participation in the management of school often make teachers feel they are ‘under suspicion’ (Oliveira, 2010, p. 22).

According to the author, teachers tend to perceive the democratic management, valued in these reforms, as a threat, mainly because it allows other actors to interfere in the exclusivity of their work. In addition to democratic management, the flexibility announced by the reforms puts teachers in a new ambivalence. In Oliveira’s words,

If on the one hand the most flexible and autonomous forms of work organization bring them gains regarding autonomy and greater control over their activities, on the other hand the same organization takes their power and control as a professional group away, as the other subjects that participate in the school and in the system now have power to charge and demand accountability for what is done in the school space (Oliveira, 2010, p. 32).

As can be seen, the considerations pointed by these authors are extremely relevant for understanding the implications of evaluation policies and educational management. The study of management and evaluation cannot be dissociated from studies on teachers’ work, from the valorization of teaching, and from the wide range of reforms in the labor legislation of education professionals, which has also undergone profound regressive transformations considering the evidence of precariousness and the intensification of work, whose consequences are more serious than the identity problem.

Evaluation in Basic Education

In the last decades, reflection and evaluation practices have undergone significant transformations. The traditional approach, based on instrument and test, has given way to a perspective focused on methodological aspects. It allows affirming that [...] educational results dissociated from the processes engendering them cannot be understood as part of the educational process. (Horta Neto, 2018, p. 51).

Nowadays, the paradigmatic debate surrounding evaluation has gained meaning in the context of problematization. This conceptual change has a close relationship with the diversity of the reference fields of evaluation such as educational policies, teaching systems, schools, school curricula, programs, teaching performance, learning, among others. (Fernandes, 2007; Gomes, 2015; 2017).

Evaluation has assumed centrality in the public policies, with numerous repercussions in the teaching and learning practices, in the management and in the teaching work. The existing literature has revealed the complexity, multidimensionality and comprehensiveness of the evaluation.

As part of the management of educational systems and teaching practices, evaluation is at the core of education, to some extent as an effect produced by globalization, which in many cases has triggered processes of competitiveness between different educational systems. Thus, the changes occurred in the evaluation field allow us to obtain information about the profound tensions experienced by school administrators and systems, teachers and students.

The logic of measurability and the normative dimension of evaluation have been intensified in the last decades. In this model, large-scale tests, with widely disseminated results, especially in the media, often produced improper scorings and comparisons. This emphasis on results has fostered competition, encouraging a reductionist view of quality in education. On the one hand, this critical eye does not mean devaluation of the national exams, on the contrary, a critical stance regarding the tests is defended, and they are understood as indicators that demand greater articulation with other factors on which the educational action is based. On the other hand, despite numerous criticisms about external assessments, they have contributed to raising the awareness of managers and teachers about the quality of the teaching offered to students.

Affirming that “until the mid-1990s, measures for learning assessment that produced solid evidence on the quality of education systems did not exist in the country” is possible. (Gomes, 2015, p. 349). As a consequence, speaking of “the old public school as an example of quality” was usual. Educational problems directly affected basic education, mainly the elementary school. And faced with this situation, school adopted an excluding attitude, so that few students were elected and had access to teaching-learning. Thus, education reform was adopted with an evaluation policy aimed at promoting, above all, the quality and efficiency assigned to teaching.

In accordance with this situation, Jeffrey affirms that the objective of the educational reform of 1990

[...] was to promote the induction of policies specifically aimed at elementary education and the quality of teaching, and that problems such as school failure and need for improvement in school regularity had to be addressed and solved to guarantee the equity and efficiency of the Brazilian education system (Jeffrey, 2011, p. 63).

The development of an evaluation system for Basic Education in Brazil is very recent. In just over a decade, a complex and comprehensive educational evaluation system supporting all levels of education and providing information that guides educational policies at all levels of education has been built in the country.

Focused on this common general objective, the Brazilian National Evaluation System for Basic Education (Saeb), the National High School Exam (Enem) and, more recently, Prova Brasil have different characteristics and possibilities of using their results so that the information evaluated also serves to the process of formulation, implementation and adjustment of educational policies. (Brasil, 2005; 2009; 2010).

The SAEB, created in 1990, was reformulated several times until it reached its current formulation, in force since 2015. Its creation induced and oriented the development of evaluation systems in the states of the federation, which reinforced it. In 20155 , 18 Brazilian states had their own evaluation systems for basic education, which tend to use the same scales for tests without, however, the occurrence of integration between them.

Enem, created in 1998 to evaluate student achievement in high school has also undergone significant changes. After 20 years, it became the gateway to public and private higher education in Brazil. Currently, through SiSU, a system for unified selection, Enem scores can be used to enter all Brazilian federal and state universities, university centers, and federal institutes of education.

In its evaluation proposal, Enem prioritizes students’ ability to answer questions and present arguments based on skills and competences developed in the schooling process, and one of its objectives is to assess the appropriation of this knowledge by students. Each year, after the publication of results of the national exams, among them the Enem, there is an intensification of discussions about the quality of education in Brazil. In general, the responsibility for the poor quality of education in schools is assigned to teachers. From this viewpoint, Enem and the skills required to do it are strictly close to the questions related to teachers’ curricular practice.

This external evaluation aimed to evaluate voluntarily the students’ performance after finishing basic education to collaborate with positive results of the quality of this schooling level; however, the students’ adherence in the first years of administration of the exam was minimal. In 2009, the new Enem was created and its function was expanded, being used as a selection criterion for students’ entry into Higher Education and for those who want to apply for a scholarship in the ProUni program and student financing through Fies - which offer scholarships and interest-free financing or with low interest rates in private institutions, respectively - and as a possibility of obtaining high school certification.

In 2017, Enem underwent some modifications, the most relevant was the redistribution of days for test, individual disclosure of results, stopping schools from publishing grades, and the revocation of the obtaining of High School certification via Enem. Today, this exam is the most relevant external evaluation of High School, after several modifications and adjustments, often influencing curricula and teaching practices. For this reason, the discussion about this external evaluation and its relations with practices developed by teachers in classrooms is considered relevant.

Nevertheless, if it is true that Brazil has advanced in the organization and consolidation of evaluation systems, it is also true that, qualitatively, the results of evaluations still have not been used to improve school, classes and teachers’ training. “These are challenges of education policies, without which the main objective of evaluation policies loses meaning for the main protagonists of education: students, teachers and managers” (Gomes, 2015, p. 350).

On this issue, researchers on educational policies also claim that

The movement towards testing spreads in Brazil, both at the state and municipal levels, and, thus, the use of school rankings increases - a path traced through three movements: to identify the schools showing the best performance, turning them into examples to be followed; to disclose the results of the test, believing that families will pressure those schools whose performance are poor to overcome it; to create competition between schools for increasingly improve their performances, a typical strategy of the business world in its eagerness to eliminate competitors (Horta Neto, 2018, p. 47).


[...] reaffirming the centrality that evaluations, especially those conducted by the Brazilian states, has shown as reference of quality and of education management is considered a priority. However, ensuring that external evaluations favor the quality of public education for all students, without any distinctions, the basis of a truly democratic society, is important (Machado; Alarvarse; Arcas, 2015, p. 668).

In view of this context, the problematization of the National Policy for Evaluation of Basic Education in Brazil, Latin America and other countries, identifying contradictions of the measures adopted in the last decades and the underlying interests becomes relevant. In this sense, there is a demand for a new epistemology of evaluation that surpass the predominance of a positivist paradigm, based on measurement, often confined to a tendency to produce standards and ranking that has stimulated competition and threaten to confine education to a market segment, increasing school inequalities.

As mediators of public policies for education, which include evaluation and management, teachers play a relevant role in ensuring an evaluation that meet the demands of students and can be formative. Based on democratic, ethical and political values, “[...] clearly establishing the relations between evaluation, ethics and public policy can be an important contribution to transforming and improving social realities, making society more equitable and supportive” (Fernandes, 2018, p. 34).

Evaluation in Higher Education

Studies on evaluation in Higher Education show the initial discussion on the topic focused on the institutional dimension of federal public universities, with the creation of PARU, a program for evaluation of university reform developed by CAPES from 1983 to 1985. Paru preceeded PIUB, an institutional program for the evaluation of Brazilian universities developed in the early 1990s, proposed to the Ministry of Education by a group of higher education researchers and/or with experience in university management (Weber, 2003).

In this context, a new cycle of education reforms in the country is being undertaken, which expresses a specific conception of educational management, inserted and articulated in a broad set of reforms that brought together the productive sector and the State, in partial response to the crisis of world capitalism. Thus, an opportunity for the restructuring of universities arises.

In this process, the changes imposed on Higher Education were profound and encompassed several areas such as financing, supply, form of management, functioning, curricula, evaluation, composition and organization of teaching staff, content of teaching activities, among others.

Regarding the evaluation, the implementation of new processes of institutional evaluation and assessment of courses and of professionals’ performance, especially in public institutions, was introduced through a set of standards and practices, a vigorous culture of evaluation, liability and accountability.

According to Sousa and Bruno (2008), the evaluation emerges as a fundamental strategy of management power and control over activities carried out in a decentralized way. In this context, deregulation necessarily implies the reinforcement of evaluative practices as management instruments, whose criteria and rationality are established by power centers of government and companies, thus assuming an eminently coercive and controlling character.

In the national normative documents prescribing the evaluation of Higher Education, the relevance of quality allied to the adoption of principles of evaluation and regulation are highlighted, as well as the emphasis on internationalization that brings the role and purpose of public universities to the agenda.

According to Leite (1997), the systematic evaluation of Brazilian Higher Education had preparatory actions before the 1990s, such as the evaluation of postgraduate courses in 1977. Subsequently, the executive group for the reform of Higher Education, GERES, in 1986, already assumed in its projects a concept based on a quantitative and objectivist evaluation for Higher Education.

In the midst of actions and discussions about the creation of an institutional evaluation for universities, the base document entitled Avaliação das Universidades Brasileiras (Evaluation of Brazilian Universities, in a free translation) was presented in 1993 under the coordination of the Ministry of Education: a national proposal, produced by a National Evaluation Commission, which was created for this purpose. This document brought together the basis, characteristics and indicators of the evaluation formulated by the commission itself. As a consequence, PAIUB, which received support of the Higher Education Institutions (IESs), was created and counted, in its outline, with contributions derived from the debate occurring since 1980 about the role and meaning of evaluation by different levels of institutions: government, higher education institutions and representative associations of teachers (Amorim; Sousa, 1994).

However, this program was interrupted in the first term of Fernando Henrique Cardoso (FHC) administration, who opted for the implementation of ENC, a national exam for evaluation of courses, known as Provão, which was instituted in 1995, with the approval of Law 9.131/1995.

ENC is a periodic evaluation of institutions and courses, which has as one of its objectives to check the performance of the ones graduating - in a compulsory way, being a prerequisite for obtaining the diploma. This evaluation received many criticisms, mainly by the way its results were used and by the fact that it was boycotted by students who delivered the test without answering it.

With such exam, the notion of result measurement is broadened for encompassing an evaluation perspective, also including the evaluation of institutions and courses by external commissions and the self-assessment of institutions. Thus, higher education evaluation began to result from the aggregation of results produced by different instances: by CAPES (stricto sensu post-graduation); by the Department of Evaluation and Educational Information of Ministry of Education - SEDIAE, (National Exam and Analysis of Global Performance Indicators); by specialists (graduation) and teaching institutions (self-assessment). However, the most visible effect of the evaluation procedures adopted was the classification of students and institutions, as a result of the performance in the ENC and the judgment of institutional conditions, considering that criteria varied according to the nature of the institution (university, university center, college, etc.) (Sousa; Bruno, 2008).

As several authors have shown,6 the systematization and consolidation of higher education evaluation occurs in parallel to the expansion of private institutions, their courses and vacancies, which was evident from 1995 on and become notable since 2010. The concept of quality from 1995 to 2002 according to Trindade (2001), Dias Sobrinho (2003) and cited by Sousa and Bruno (2008) disassociated the notions of quantity and quality, which allowed the expansion of private IESs, in proportions significantly greater than in previous periods.

After the consolidation of the system of Higher Education evaluation in Brazil, changes in procedures were made in the administration of Luís Inácio Lula da Silva. ENC stopped being administered, and a working group was designated to propose changes in the evaluation of Higher Education, called CEA (Special Commission for Evaluation of Higher Education, in a free translation). A new evaluation model is launched because of the work of this Committee: Sinaes, a national system of evaluation of Higher Education, in accordance with a hybrid law between provisional measure (PM) number 147/2003, which preserved the proposal elaborated by the CEA, and the changes in the Chamber of Deputies, when it was approved. Thus, Sinaes emerges to control IESs.

According to the Ministry of Education7, Sinaes analyzes the institutions, courses and students’ performance, considering aspects such as teaching, research, extension, social responsibility, institution management and teachers. Sinaes gathers information from Enade, a Brazilian national exam for evaluation of student achievement, and from evaluations of institutions and courses. The information obtained is used for institutional orientation of higher education institutions and as a basis for public policies. The data are also useful for society, especially for students, as a reference regarding the conditions of courses and institutions. The evaluation processes of Sinaes are coordinated and supervised by Conaes, a national commission for evaluation of Higher Education. The operationalization is the responsibility of the National Institute for Educational Studies and Research Anísio Teixeira (Inep). Sinaes has undergone reformulations throughout its history, such as those imposed by decrees in 2006 and 2007, which change its original conception, confining it to the purpose of the evaluation, since it starts to subsidize the exercise of the regulatory function by the Ministry of Education, inducing, in practice, a conception of evaluation as an instrument of control, retaking its previous meaning (Verhine, 2015; Sous; Bruno, 2008).

When analyzing the evaluation models from ENC and Sinaes, one can observe that, although differences are shown, both reaffirm the conception of education evaluation under the logics of control and market, involving the public and private higher education institutions. One of the criticisms about the system is the isolated use of data from Enade and some of the quality indicators, such as in the case of the CPC (Preliminary Course Concept) and the IGC (General Course Index) for market purposes. Another relevant criticism is the excessive control over Brazilian public IESs and over the teachers’ work carried out in these institutions, in the sense of drastic reduction in autonomy. In the case of teachers’ work, this loss of autonomy is closely associated with the loss of labor rights and social security rights and with the intensification and the precariousness of work, which has led to the updating and deepening of the debate on the process of proletarianization of university professors, based on evidences of the current context.

Therefore, Sinaes articulates not only with the evaluation models that preceded it, but also with the quality of teaching and the conditions of employment and work of the professors and other employees of the IESs. However, major threats and governmental measures toward the privatization of federal universities call into question not only the quality of teaching and the condition of university professors, but also the essence and purpose of Brazilian universities, which directly affect the conception of management. Undoubtedly, these threats represent the main risk and tension in the current higher education in the country.

Final Considerations

This article aimed to highlight some interfaces, articulations and tensions between evaluation and educational management. When concluding it, it becomes relevant to highlight three considerations.

First, evaluation and management are closely intertwined at all levels of education, and the conception and functions that effectively guide them lead to historically situated results.

Secondly, the evaluation process undertaken in Brazil since the 1990s, with its antecedents in the 1980s, has a nexus, a common basis, which increases and deepens the crisis of public educational systems and leads to the commodification of education at all levels of education, taking the internationalization based on educational and social hierarchies as a route. This is a process of globalization of educational models, still unfinished, but at an already advanced stage, which has the North American and Chilean experiences as more advanced examples and models. Therefore, one must seek to know and analyze these experiences carefully.

Finally, studies on management and evaluation, as well as others, always require critical analysis of the subjects, from a perspective of dialogue and confrontation. Questioning and problematizing the current educational policies seems essential, especially those of evaluation and management of education based on theoretical references that are able not only to uncover their essence, nature, purposes, effects and tensions generated, but also to contribute to the improvement of the policy itself.


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Translated from Portuguese by Tikinet.

Received: July 17, 2018; Accepted: September 26, 2018

Suzana dos Santos Gomes is a post-doctorate student in the Universidade de Lisboa (U.L) and the Universidade de São Paulo (USP), she is PhD and Master in Education by the Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais (UFMG). Associated Professor at UFMG and professor at the Post-Graduate Program in Education: Knowledge and Social Inclusion. E-mail:

Savana Diniz Gomes Melo is post-doctorate bond the Education Sciences Faculty of University of La Coruña, Galicia, Spain. She is the Education by Knowledge and Social Inclusion Post-Graduation Program of Education Faculty of Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG) Brazil, vice-coordinator of research line on Public Policies and Education: Conception, Implementation and Assessment and vice-chief of School Management Department of FaE/UFMG. E-mail:

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