Policy briefing: making sense of the Teaching Excellence Framework

In a CGHE policy briefing published today, Professor Paul Ashwin from Lancaster University outlines the purpose of the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF), how it works, and discusses the extent to which the results provide valuable information about the quality of undergraduate degree programmes.

Professor Ashwin points out that the TEF will provide students with better information about the quality of degree programmes than is currently offered by commercial higher education rankings due to the fact that, unlike rankings, it accounts for demographic differences in student intake.

However, Professor Ashwin questions the criteria used, arguing that there is a ‘lack of a coherent view of excellent teaching that informs the TEF’. He warns that if the TEF is based on measures that are unrelated to the quality of teaching, then it will end up measuring institutional game-playing rather than excellent teaching.