This study was inspired by a sharp contrast in the attitude towards school evaluation between Taiwan and other countries. School evaluation has been emphasized internationally (Whitby, 2010). For example, OECD (2013) published several books related to educational evaluation and assessment, indicating that policy makers want to understand students’ learning performance and find effective ways to improve schools. Countries such as U.K., Sweden, and Australia have established national school evaluation system to monitor city and school performance in education.
In contrast, cities in Taiwan, one after the other, announced that school evaluation will be abolished since 2015. Resisting or abolishing school evaluation has become a new fashion among many City Bureaus of Education. In Taiwan, evaluation of other institutions, such as restaurants, hospitals still continue without resistance. It is therefore important to understand the resisting behaviors in school evaluation among many cities in Taiwan.
To understand why a quality assurance or accountability act in education has become an enemy for schools, this paper addresses the following research questions:
- What are the reasons for resisting school evaluation among City Bureaus of Education, schools, and educators?
- What have contributed to the resistance to school evaluation?
- What can be done to improve the attitudes towards school evaluation?
Brief Literature Review
Evaluation, accreditation, or quality assurance all represent a systematic effort to judge school quality based on predetermined criteria for decision making or improvement（Hopkins, 1989; Weiss, 1998; Wilcox, 2000）. Among them, school evaluation is an institutional evaluation aims to improve the quality of schools.
In Taiwan, school evaluation has not yet institutionalized. Based on the laws, high school evaluations are the only evaluations requested by law. However, due to the needs of educational accountability, some cities started implementing school evaluation on elementary and junior high schools as early as 1960s. City school evaluation is the responsibility of city government.
Common critiques of school evaluation can be summarized as follows: (Faubert, 2009；Monsen, 2002; Taut & Brauns, 2003）：
- Intervening with teacher autonomy by trying to tell teachers what were right and what should be done.
- Lack of support after evaluation.
- Increase the workload among school staff.
- Unprofessional evaluation practice.
- School faced strong stress during evaluation.
To address the research questions, document review and semi-structured interview were conducted. Ministry of Education and four cities in Taiwan were chosen as the cases. High school and elementary school principals, administrators of City Bureau of Education, who have experiences in school evaluation, and evaluators were selected for interviews. Documents related to school evaluation, such as evaluation handbooks or guidelines, were collected for analysis. These four cities locate in different areas of Taiwan to maximize the diversities of cases selected. A total of 37 interviews were conducted. All the interviews were transcribed for analysis. The research faces two major challenges. The first challenge is the interview. Not many interviewees have reflected on their attitudes towards school evaluation. They just dislike it. It often takes long conversation to find out the reasons for the resistance towards school evaluation. The second challenge is to find out the structural factors that have contributed to the resisting attitudes towards school evaluation.
Based on the research findings. Suggestions are also provided for Central and City governments to improve school evaluation. It is hoped that we will have the opportunities to present the paper in ECER and get more feedback from the European perspectives to improve school evaluation in Taiwan.
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