this work presents results of a study conducted between 2005 and 2006 entitled the use of the results of the saresp exam: the role of assessment in teacher education policies (uso dos resultados do saresp: o papel da avalia？？o nas políticas de forma？？o docente), whose purpose was to analyze possibilities and limits of the use of the results obtained by pupils in the saresp exam (school performance assessment system of the state s？o paulo) to formulate and direct teacher education policies. the attention was focused on education programs for teachers of portuguese language to pupils in fundamental education. four out of the thirteen regional education directorships of the state of s？o paulo were visited to gain acquaintance with the teacher education programs they developed and to investigate to what extent they could be related to the results achieved in the saresp exam. the qualitative study adopted as its main strategy the exploratory survey, with the use of semi-structured interview and observation scripts. the theoretical framework employed brought together contributions by dennis palumbo (1998) and marcus figueiredo and argelina figueiredo (1986) to understand the concept and stages of public policy, as well as by elba barreto and regina pinto (2001), blaine worthen, james sanders and jody fitzpatrick (2004), and by almerindo afonso (1998) on the discussion about assessment programs, among others. it concludes that, the statements in the teacher education program and in the saresp documentations about the correlation between the former and pupil assessment results notwithstanding, the actual achievement of positive results depends on the effective commitment of the professionals working at the education directorships. formal actions by the secretariat for education to foster this use of the results have proved insufficient to ensure the proposed link between pupil assessment and teacher education.