Evidence does not support the rationale of the TEF

Graham Gibbs


The Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) has evolved since it was first announced, and HEFCE guidance to institutions on its implementation reveals a number of significant concessions to evidence, common sense and fairness. Institutions may well implement useful teaching improvement mechanisms in response, as they have always done regardless of the nature of external quality assurance demands. However the rationale of the TEF remains and it is deeply flawed. It is the rationale that this paper focuses on. It is argued here that its interpretation of evidence about educational quality, employability and value for money ratings, used to justify a TEF, are irrational and are not supported by evidence. Making fine judgments about institutional rankings (and hence fee levels) on the basis of metrics is likely to be thwarted by the very small differences in scores between institutions. Some of its proposed metrics are invalid. Its belief in the ability of a small panel of experts to make sound quality judgments is not well founded given the poor record of past attempts to make such judgments about teaching quality in higher education. The higher education market is very complex and perhaps only a minority of institutions will be able to benefit in the way the TEF intends. The TEF seems unlikely to be perceived, by most, as rewarding.



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Gibbs, G. (2010) Dimensions of Quality. York: Higher Education Academy. file:///C:/Users/Home/Desktop/General/HEA%20Quality/Dimensions%20of%20Quality%20Final%20Report.pdf Accessed 19/01/17

DOI: https://doi.org/10.21100/compass.v10i2.496


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