In the case study of Lanzhou City University, it was mentioned that already before TLCP, the university had began giving out prices for best lecturers, and developed indicators for teaching quality. Vidovich, Yang and Currie (2007) contextualizes this in terms of the rise of accountability linked to internationalization of Chinese universities. Since the beginning of the 1990’s, teaching has been evaluated both by authorities external and internal to the university. Teaching audits, including teacher performance, portfolios, textbooks, student assignments, teaching records and examination papers, are conducted both by the central government, the provinces, and some cities. Within universities, students evaluate undergraduate teaching, and in some universities this feedback is made public. Senior university personnell, including faculty deans, often attend lectures unannounced to make observations. The rewards for good teaching are teaching awards, although the monetary amount is usually low. If a faculty member consistently receives poor teaching evaluations, senior teachers will sit in on his or her class and help him or her improve his or her teaching.

Although teaching has always been valued in Chinese education, this system of formalized accountability has developed in tandem with an increasingly formalized system for evaluating research and publications, and linking salary and promotions to these “objective factors”. However, Vidovich, Yang and Currie (2007) report that faculty are more resistant to the system of teaching evaluations, because they feel that it is very hard to set objective standards for good teaching, and that the awards are often not fairly distributed.