TEF - Tiresomely Extraneous & Flawed?


  • James Derounian University of Gloucestershire




Universities, UK, evaluation of teaching


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”.

Author Biography

James Derounian, University of Gloucestershire

James Derounian is a National Teaching Fellow and Principal Lecturer at the University of Gloucestershire. James’ teaching and action research interests relate to active and blended learning approaches, local governance, rural social issues and community engagement. He is an experienced external examiner - currently for the University of Bolton's Neighbourhood Development first degree; plus Bournemouth University's Masters in Green Economy. James has undertaken consultancies for international (Romanian Historic Monuments Commission), national (Carnegie UK Trust) and local (Oxfordshire Rural Community Council) organisations. He is particularly skilled at facilitating part-time, mature and distance learning.


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