Journal of East China Normal University(Educational Sciences) ›› 2022, Vol. 40 ›› Issue (1): 30-42.doi: 10.16382/j.cnki.1000-5560.2022.01.003

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How to Evaluate Universities? The Rise, Spread and Institutionalization of International Evaluation in China’s Top Universities

Qu Yu   

  1. Department of Human Resources, Peking University, Beijing 100871, China
  • Online:2022-01-01 Published:2021-12-21


China’s university evaluation has always been accompanied by a strong top-down administrative dominance for a long time. The allocation of government resources among universities is also closely related to the evaluation results. In such a system, universities are more likely to highlight advantages rather than problems. In the process of promoting the construction of world-class universities, the evaluation system of Chinese universities has gradually changed and international evaluation has become an important way for leading universities to carry out self-evaluation. This study found that the early international evaluations mainly originated from universities’ initiation for specific issues. Under the strong willingness to reform in the universities, international evaluations were introduced into the self-evaluation systems of these universities and promoted organizational changes, such as personnel system reform, university and school management system reform, inter-discipline construction. Since then, the international evaluation mechanism has continued to spread among the first-class universities in China. This article believes that changes in the environment of higher education evaluation system is an important foundation for the spread of international evaluation mechanisms, and the learning and imitating of pioneers is the direct cause of proliferation. Under the effect of the legitimacy mechanism, international evaluation has accelerated its spread among the first-class university groups in China. It has become an important part of the continuous self-reformation of universities.

Key words: self-evaluation, international evaluation, university governance, institutionalization