2019 Independent Review of the TEF – our response

The Chartered ABS has published its response to Dame Shirley Pearce’s independent review of the Teaching Excellence and Student Outcomes Framework at subject-level. The Chartered ABS agrees with TEF’s overarching principle that universities should be accountable for the teaching experiences received by students and that it is important to demonstrate excellence. However, the consensus view of our members is that the metrics used by subject-level TEF need to be reconsidered as the current core metrics don’t relate to actual teaching quality.

We believe teaching should be given a higher weighting in the metrics based on a more robust NSS and/or a meaningful measure for assessing actual teaching quality. Our members are also concerned by the value-laden connotations of the Olympic style rating system and the possibility that it makes a large number of UK providers appear unduly weak in relation to international competitors. More appropriate would be a simple set of labels that are less value-laden and competitive.

TEF aims to recognise and reward excellence in teaching, learning and student outcomes in higher education providers in the UK. The current framework assesses undergraduate provision at a ‘provider-level’ and the Department for Education (DfE) is currently undertaking its second pilot of TEF assessments at subject level. The OfS is planning to move to full implementation of subject-level TEF in academic year 2019/20. Dame Shirley Pearce’s review looked at a number of aspects of subject-level TEF, including the process by which ratings are determined, the appropriateness of the rating names and whether the scheme is in the public interest.

Download our full response here