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Using evaluative results in program improvement by public vocational high school instructors in Taiwan

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  • The purpose of this study was to explore factors which influence Taiwanese vocational teachers' participation in program evaluations, use of evaluative results and, in turn, program improvement. Twelve Taiwanese public vocational high school teachers were interviewed during February and March 1992. To confirm the responses of the teachers, 12 school administrators and ten external evaluators were also interviewed. The literature indicates that teachers' participation in evaluation may be influenced by their self-esteem, perceived qualification of evaluators, the quality of the evaluation methods, and their subculture. These concepts are applicable but from a somewhat different perspective in Taiwan. Teachers do not seem to feel that they are active participants in evaluations and that evaluations may have little consequence to what they do. Current evaluation practices and purposes appear to be quite different than those described in official documents. These differences seem to be inevitable because of the cultural determinants of "saving face," "reciprocal obligation," and maintaining "social harmony." Evaluations appear ritualistic and ineffective as means to engage teachers in improving the quality of vocational evaluation on a systematic and sustained basis. Based on the findings, it was proposed that alternative evaluation methodologies should be employed. For short-term improvement, the evaluations should begin with teachers. Teachers need materials, help from experienced and expert teachers, training, and time to fulfill their evaluation responsibilities. Teachers would collect and analyze information and then use it to improve their instruction. Selected information would then be passed up to administrators and ultimately to the Ministry of Education. For long-term improvement, the principles and techniques of Total Quality Management should be applied to assure the quality of vocational education programs in Taiwan.
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