One size fits all? Teacher appraisal in a Chinese culture

Allan David WALKER, Clive DIMMOCK

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlespeer-review

53 Citations (Scopus)


In this article we suggest that the penetration of Western policies and practices - in particular, teacher appraisal - into Asian cultural contexts needs to be questioned. We begin by making a general case for considering the influence of societal culture on educational policies and practices, and a more specific argument for assessing its role in the implementation of teacher appraisal in different cultures. We argue that it may be unwise simply to clone appraisal practices in contexts and cultures quite different from those in which they are chartered. The study briefly reviews the status of teacher appraisal in Hong Kong, given that in the next few years all Hong Kong schools must implement appraisal schemes, a fact causing considerable consternation. We then suggest that the most common forms of appraisal being promoted and implemented in Hong Kong are based on traditional Anglo-American understandings and practices. This leads to a discussion of the possible influence exerted by culture on teacher appraisal in the Chinese society of Hong Kong. Noteworthy features of Hong Kong's culture are collectivism and high power distance, both of which are sufficiently different from Anglo-American cultures to suggest that the forms taken by teacher appraisal in those countries may be inappropriate for Hong Kong. In the final section, we briefly discuss a number of issues that, it is suggested, deserve consideration when Hong Kong schools design and implement teacher appraisal schemes. As we stress throughout the study, our discussion is not intended to be definitive. Rather, we hope it will stimulate discussion and research into discovering more culturally sensitive ways of appraising teachers in different parts of the world. Copyright © 2000 Kluwer Academic Publishers.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)155-178
JournalJournal of Personnel Evaluation in Education
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2000


Walker, A., & Dimmock, C. (2000). One size fits all? Teacher appraisal in a Chinese culture. Journal of Personnel Evaluation in Education, 14(2), 155-178. doi: 10.1023/A:1008106803772


  • High power
  • Final section
  • Cultural context
  • Chinese society
  • Educational policy


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