OfS consultation on the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF): our response

The Chartered ABS has responded to the OfS consultation on the future of the TEF, aimed at incentivising higher education providers in the UK to achieve excellence in teaching, learning and student outcomes. The latest proposals were developed in light of the recommendations of the 2019 Independent Review of the TEF.

Our members broadly agree with several proposals in the consultation while drawing attention to relevant points of concern. We agree that ratings should be awarded at provider level to reduce the administrative burden that would accompany subject-level ratings and that, for the upcoming iteration, only undergraduate courses would be within the scope of the assessment, though this should be made abundantly clear to prospective postgraduate students. We support the proposed use of indicators and expert review, but highlight concerns about limited availability of NSS data at some providers, and suggest the inclusion of professional services specialists in the expert review panels.

Rather than continue using the medal system as proposed, we would favour the recommendation of the Independent Review to adopt a rating scheme of “meets UK Quality Requirements; Commended; Highly Commended; Outstanding. Our member schools disagree with the proposal to include a ‘requires improvement’ rating due to the adverse impact it is likely to have on providers, and with the proposed timing of the next exercise as this does not appreciate several contextual factors affecting providers.

Our response to the consultation can be read in full here.