In the present paper the authors will describe the development of school evaluation policies in the context of recent Japanese education reform. In doing so, the applicability of Neave's 'Evaluative State' thesis shall be examined. And then they will move on to the discussion as to how the policies will work in schools. Drawing on the findings of their empirical research into student involvement in the school evaluation process, the authors will deal with the 'politics of appropriation'. The process could be of a liberating nature at the present time, as opposed to the managerial intentions of policy.