A Case Study into Teacher Perceptions of the Introduction of Student Evaluation of Teaching Surveys (SETs) in Japanese Tertiary Education

| March 25, 2009
Title
A Case Study into Teacher Perceptions of the Introduction of Student Evaluation of Teaching Surveys (SETs) in Japanese Tertiary Education

Keywords: teacher, perceptions, student evaluation, Japan

Authors
Peter Burden
Exeter University. Britain
burden-p@po.osu.ac.jp

Bio Data
Peter Burden has been teaching and researching in Japanese tertiary education context for nearly twenty years. His main research area is dissonance between teacher and learner perspectives of classroom learning experiences. He recently gained his doctorate in TESOL from Exeter University in his native country, Britain.

Abstract
For over five years, student evaluation of teaching through end of semester questionnaires (SETs) has been mandatory in Japan. Evaluation has been conceived by a centralized bureaucracy and delivered to schools as an imperative, but often without clarification of aims or purposes. This paper, utilizing a case study methodology, examines through interviews the perspectives of 6 ELT teachers working within a Japanese university about the introduction of SETs. Trends emerged which suggested that teachers saw the threat of evaluation differently. Tenured teachers saw a potential threat in the future, but part-time and limited-term contracted teachers felt disadvantaged in terms of job conditions, and extremely vulnerable to retention decisions. As a by-product of status issues, an atmosphere of mistrust, data manipulation and an us versus them viewpoint emerged, surely at odds with an effective evaluation system which should lead to improvement and be beneficial to teachers and learners. Although the study is from a Japanese perspective, the findings of the study are pertinent to wherever, generic, cross-curricular ratings forms are administered.

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Category: Quarterly Journal, Volume 11 Issue 1