TEF - Tiresomely Extraneous & Flawed?

James Derounian


In this opinion piece the author introduces the UK Government’s 2016 Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF). The intention of the framework is to assess and encourage teaching excellence across English, Welsh, Scottish and Northern Ireland’s higher education institutions.

The research presented – paints a picture of positives and negatives of the TEF as it is currently structured. The balance of evidence points to some serious flaws in the assessment of teaching quality proposed: For example, how can an initial institutional gold, silver or bronze award adequately reflect the diversity of quality across a university’s administration, admissions, student support, different departments and disciplines?

The author also argues that the TEF emphasis on particular measures – such as employability and student achievement of professional jobs within 6 months of graduation – act against the wider social purposes of universities; and – in the words of Michael Oakeshott (1950: 30)  – diminish students’ search for their “intellectual fortune”.


Universities; UK; evaluation of teaching

Full Text:



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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.21100/compass.v10i2.411


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