The future of the TEF: report to the independent reviewer

The future of the TEF


Universities UK's report on the overall effect the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) is having on higher education shows there is still some way to go to improve the system. 


Universities UK (UUK) calls on the government to reconsider plans for subject-level assessment following the challenges arising from the pilots in around 50 universities. UUK believes plans for subject-level TEF should not proceed until the limitations of the methodology, its resource impact, and the actual value of its contribution to student decision-making, have been fully considered. 

The report contributes to the independent review of the TEF being led by Dame Shirley Pearce. In it, UUK concludes:

  • The TEF is having an impact on the sector, in teaching and learning strategies and the monitoring of outcome measure.

  • It is hard to gather conclusive evidence of the TEF's contribution to teaching and learning experience and outcomes.

  • Its definition of excellence is weighted heavily towards employment outcomes, without full consideration of a student’s overall study experience and the wider benefits of teaching and learning for students and society

  • Awareness of the TEF is still low among students, while gradual and piecemeal changes have made it complicated for them to understand or to use it most effectively

  • New governance arrangements should be made to ensure the government, the Office for Students, students and providers have a clear stake in strategic decision-making.

  • A year into piloting subject-level assessment, there is considerable doubt over whether this will drive real value for students, while it is adding significant complexity and cost which could divert resource from other student-focused areas.



 

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