University Rankings: Brazil
National Institute for Education Studies and Research, Evaluation of University Programs — The Provão
From 1993 through 2003 Brazil’s National Institute for Educational Studies and Research (INEP), a government agency connected with the Ministry of Education, administered a nationwide examination to all students in higher education as a means of evaluating the quality of education at each of the country’s colleges and universities both public and private. The Provão, or “big test,” was standardized according to course of study and purported to evaluate the quality of each department at all Brazilian institutions. Based on student’s performance on the exam, individual departments received grades A — E (A being best, E being worst). Students were required to participate in the exam as a requisite for receiving their diploma, the front of which carried a stamped date of test completion.
Expressly implemented to help the Ministry of Education evaluate the nation’s higher education and propose initiatives to improve its status, the Provão faced much opposition as its inception and was vehemently criticized by many during its tenure. The results of the big test served as a significant thrust for prospective student both into and away from certain university department based exclusively on published Provão performance. One of the exams inconsistencies and consequent criticisms occurred because results on the exam across departments were not comparable because of their differences and results from year to year were not comparable because the test was continuously altered and updated.
The Provão’s parameters for each distinct course of study were designed by eight expert professors from that field. Using these guidelines, professional test-makers prepared questions for and created the exam while a private foundation administered, proctored and graded the exam as well as tabulated and organized the end results for publication. Scores on the exam were ranked from highest to lowest, the top 12 percent of scores graded an A, scores between 12 and 18 percent graded a B, the middle 40 percent receiving a C and so on.
|Provão Evaluation – University of São Paolo (2003)