Chartered ABS response to OfS consultation: regulating quality and standards in HE

The Chartered ABS has responded to the OfS consultation on regulating quality and standards in HE. Our members are in agreement with the approach of setting minimum requirements for quality and standards but believe that it is difficult to assign quantitative measures for many of the definitions specified by the OfS. It should be recognised that whilst universities can do their best to create a learning environment that offers all students the opportunity to achieve successful outcomes it is not possible to guarantee successful outcomes for all students because there are other factors that are beyond the control of the institution.

Broadly speaking, our members are in agreement with the proposed indicators for student outcomes but have concerns that assessing a provider’s absolute performance in relation to these may inadvertently stifle innovation in areas such as student recruitment. It could encourage institutions to stick to existing approaches which may not always be optimal. It may be useful to include measures of extra-curricular opportunities and student take-up to reflect the broader outcomes students can obtain through HE. Our members also feel that it is important not to overlook qualitative measures and processes as an important means to evaluate quality.

Our members would welcome a principles based approach which allows latitude for HEIs to express regulatory requirements in terms of broad outcomes and offer opportunities for engagement/dialogue, including with students and employers. With universities already subject to several assessment frameworks, it is important that this exercise does not add significant further workload for institutions that is beyond the actual value likely to be generated for students and the sector as a whole.

You can read our response to the consultation in full here.