TEF - Tiresomely Extraneous & Flawed?
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”.
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Derounian, J. (2015) ‘Why does the devil have all the good tunes? How researchers continue to put one over teachers in the HE promotion stakes.’ British Educational Research Association, 5 May. Available at: https://www.bera.ac.uk/blog/why-does-the-devil-have-all-the-good-tunes-how-researchers-continue-to-put-one-over-teachers-in-the-he-promotion-stakes (Accessed: 7 October 2016).
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HM Government, Department for Education (2016) Policy paper: TEF Factsheet. Available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/550232/Teaching-excellence-framework-factsheet.pdf (Accessed 7 October 2016).
HM Government, Department for Education (2016) Teaching Excellence Framework: year two specification. Available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/556355/TEF_Year_2_specification.pdf (Accessed: 25 November 2016).
House of Commons, Business, Innovation and Skills Committee (2016) The Teaching Excellence Framework: Assessing quality in Higher Education. Available at: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201516/cmselect/cmbis/572/572.pdf (Accessed: 7 October 2016).
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