Teaching Excellence Framework frequently asked questions
Q: What is the TEF?
A: The TEF is a new way of assessing universities in the UK, which looks at the quality of the teaching which undergraduates can expect and the support they will receive during their studies. Implemented by the Government, it aims to give potential students the fullest picture possible of the student experience on offer at each university.
Q: Why has it been introduced?
A: The Government was concerned that research was held in higher esteem than teaching, to the detriment of lecturers and students. By encouraging a stronger focus on excellent teaching, the TEF aims to redress this balance and place teaching and the student experience at the heart of higher education.
It aims to answer the key questions which potential students and their parents are most interested in: What is the teaching really like? What kind of support will I receive? What will attending this university do for my chances of securing a good and rewarding job?
Q: What are universities measured on?
A: There are six different metrics used to compile the TEF ratings. They are: students’ views on teaching quality, how much support students receive, assessment and feedback, dropout rates, whether graduates are in work or further study six months after graduating and whether they are in graduate-level jobs. In addition, universities can provide a supplementary submission to provide extra information.
Each university’s submission is evaluated by an independent panel and benchmarked against the results expected for the student intake. Based on their assessment they are rated Gold, Silver or Bronze and this rating will last for three years.
Q: What does the TEF mean for me as a student?
A: Students’ experiences of higher education can transform their lives. The TEF aims to encourage universities and HE providers to focus on teaching and provide their students with high quality experiences to ensure they get the most out of their time at university.
Q: What award did DMU receive from the TEF process?
A: DMU has achieved Gold, the highest ranking possible under the TEF.
Q: What does getting a Gold ranking mean for DMU?
A: Gold ranking means that, based on the evidence available, the TEF Panel judged that “DMU delivers consistently outstanding teaching, learning and outcomes for its students. It is of the highest quality found in the UK.”
Q: What factors did the judging panel particularly like about DMU?
A: The TEF panel highlighted the following areas as particular strengths at DMU:
- The way employability is embedded in the curriculum in every faculty
- The significant contribution DMU Square Mile makes to the social and economic development of Leicester
- The way that real-world research feeds into students’ learning
- The pastoral support on offer for students throughout their time at DMU
- The outstanding and personalised study support given to students
- Involving students to support any changes to assessment methods and teaching delivery
- The excellent physical and digital resources that enhance learning, retention and employability
- A culture that encourages, recognises and rewards excellent teaching
Q: How is the TEF different to league tables?
A: Unlike all other league tables compiled, the TEF does not use students’ entry grades as a measure of quality. Instead, more focus is given to the support received by students during their studies. This is also the only Government-run measure of teaching quality in higher education. It shows the added value and real-world impact that attention to strong teaching and learning has on students – a focus which is not easily identifiable or fully reflected in league table positions.
By recognising the extraordinary impact that excellent teaching and student support can deliver, the TEF demonstrates that excellence exists in all parts of the higher education sector. Further Education institutions such as Leicester College, which is validated by De Montfort University (DMU) and which, like us, was awarded gold, are as capable of achieving excellent outcomes for their students as Oxford or Cambridge.
Q: Aren’t these changes just being introduced as a way to increase fees?
A: Universities may be given the opportunity to increase tuition fees depending on their award, but no decision will be made until 2020 at the earliest.