In this work we investigate the dynamics of 143 schools of the 3rd cycle of Basic Education in Portugal, regarding the preparation and participation in online science competitions on curricular contents of Mathematics, Portuguese, Physics and Chemistry and Geology. An exploratory factorial analysis of empirical data concerning the competitions in 2015 was carried out, to analyze the characteristics inherent to schools’ performance. Four latent factors describing the schools’ behavior were identified: Quantitative Training, Qualitative Training, Proficiency and Users, which allowed us to verify that: (i) participation in mathematics competition is predominant; (ii) schools participating in two or three competitions present different preparation dynamics; (iii) schools involved only in Mathematics and Physics and Chemistry competitions seem to adopt a more articulated and efficient pedagogical strategy. Although all schools develop a preparatory work before competitions, the strategies used seem to be related to the combination of distinct disciplinary groups participating in the competitions.
Science competitions; Schools; Basic education; Portugal