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TEF results revealed

New assessment highlights excellence of teaching and learning across UK universities and colleges

Posted by Rebecca Paddick | June 22, 2017 | Students

The results of the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) are intended to provide a new picture of excellence in teaching and learning in UK higher education.

In the assessment, 59 providers were rated gold, 116 were rated silver and 56 were rated bronze. The results and the underlying evidence will help students who are thinking about applying to university or college for autumn 2018, and encourage teaching and learning excellence across the UK. 

Professor Chris Husbands, Chair of the TEF assessment panel and Vice-Chancellor of Sheffield Hallam University, said that the TEF results "offer, for the first time, an overview of teaching excellence across the entire UK higher education sector". 

The gold-rated universities included Surrey, Bath, Portsmouth and Coventry. Bangor was the only Welsh university to achieve the gold standard.

Professor Max Lu, President and Vice-Chancellor of the university of Surrey, said: “This is a wonderful recognition of our world-class education programmes, teaching quality and exceptional student experience.”

Professor Graham Galbraith, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Portsmouth, added: “For too long universities’ reputations have been overly-dependent on their research and ‘prestige’ – which can often be code for being old. The UK is recognised as a world leader in the provision of higher education and this new government rating provides an opportunity to celebrate and recognise great teachers and great teaching that lead to positive student outcomes. It offers important new information to help students make the right choices about where to study. This Gold award supports us in continuing to build close links between teaching, course content, skills needed regionally and the industries set to drive growth as part of the UK’s future Industrial Strategy.”

The Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) was introduced by the Government to build evidence about the performance of the UK’s world-class higher education sector, complementing the existing Research Excellence Framework with an analysis of teaching and learning outcomes.

Voices of concern about the simplicity of the Teaching Excellence Framework measures don’t change the fact that a new order has been established in university rankings

Professor John Latham, Vice-Chancellor of Coventry University said: “Voices of concern about the simplicity of the Teaching Excellence Framework measures don’t change the fact that a new order has been established in university rankings. It’s a clear message that universities must work harder for a recognised environment of success and that students are looking for more than historic reputation. They want to be taught by committed professionals who care about preparing them for the global workplace. 

“The TEF is a wake-up call that shows a philosophy of independent learning must be backed up by quality teaching, particularly for the many talented students now coming into HE with incredibly varied experiences and qualifications and who must be properly supported to flourish in the university environment.”

A total of 295 universities, colleges and alternative providers of higher education voluntarily took part in the TEF. Each provider was rated gold, silver or bronze, or received a provisional award where there was not enough data for a full assessment. Excluding those with provisional ratings, a gold award was achieved by 26% of participants, silver by 50% and bronze by 24%.

The TEF awards were decided by an independent panel of experts including academics, students and employer representatives. Drawing on national data, and evidence submitted by each university or college, the TEF measures excellence in three areas: teaching quality, the learning environment and the educational and professional outcomes achieved by students.

These results, highlighting the extraordinary strengths of our higher education system, will help students choose which university or college to study at

The Universities Minister, Jo Johnson, said: “These results, highlighting the extraordinary strengths of our higher education system, will help students choose which university or college to study at. The Teaching Excellence Framework is refocusing the sector’s attention on teaching – putting in place incentives that will raise standards across the sector and giving teaching the same status as research. Students, parents, employers and taxpayers all have a shared interest in ensuring that higher education equips the next generation of graduates for success.” 

“Alongside the headline results, we are publishing all the data and submissions, and statements of the assessors’ findings. Taken together, this is a set of material on teaching excellence which goes further than has been possible for any other university system in the world."

For too long universities’ reputations have been overly-dependent on their research and ‘prestige’ – which can often be code for being old

Madeleine Atkins, Chief Executive of the Higher Education Funding Council for England, added: “Students invest significant amounts of time and money in their higher education. They rightly expect a high-quality learning experience and outcomes that reflect their potential. The UK already has a high bar for quality and standards, which all universities and colleges must meet. But the TEF judges excellence above and beyond this, clearly showing the highest levels across the sector. The TEF measures the things that students themselves say they care about: high-quality, engaged teaching and a supportive, stimulating learning environment which equips them with the knowledge and skills they need to achieve their potential, and then to progress to a good job or further study.”

The TEF results and the evidence used in the assessment can be found at www.hefce.ac.uk/lt/tef/.

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