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Three things you need to know about the Teaching Excellence Framework…and one thing you can do to change it

Friday 31 March 2017 Higher Education

The Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) will radically change the way English higher education works, and it’s about to pass through the final vote in the House of Commons.

There are a lot of problems with the way the government is going to measure teaching excellence – worst of all, it will be used to raise your tuition fees for years to come.

If that doesn’t sound great to you, here are three key things to know, and one thing you can do to change it. 

1. The TEF doesn’t actually measure Teaching Excellence

The government will be judging teaching quality based on a written submission by the university and three core measures: student satisfaction (from the National Student Survey); student retention (that’s how many students complete their degrees at a university), and graduate employment data. These are unreliable measures and influenced by many factors such as the university’s location and socio-economic status - not to mention the amount of freebies and gimmicks universities offer to encourage more positive ratings in the NSS.

2. The TEF will raise your tuition fees

Once all of this data has been analysed, universities will be ranked gold, silver or bronze, and will be able to charge different amounts for tuition depending on how they have been ranked. This means that if you want to study at a university that has been ranked as gold, you will pay more than if you study somewhere ranked bronze.

There is no clear relationship between the tuition fee “sticker price” and the quality of someone’s degree. Universities will change the way they design their education to appeal to the TEF metrics, rather than looking at what their students want. There is also a danger that students will alter their behaviour and end up choosing where to study based on cost, rather than course content or any of the other numerous factors which influence someone’s choice of university.

3. We’re already winning

On 6 March, the House of Lords passed an amendment (to the Higher Education & Research Bill) to say that any ranking of the quality of a provider can’t influence how much they are allowed to charge.

BUT, this could still be removed from the legislation again before the final vote. The HE Bill is about to enter what is known as ‘ping-pong’ – when a Bill goes back and forth between the House of Commons and the House of Lords until they both agree on the wording.

So, here’s one thing you can do to change the HE Bill…

This is the final hurdle: we need you to convince your MP that they should vote to keep this amendment in the Bill. In November, 600 of you lobbied MPs – and we won some key changes to the Bill.

Now, we need even more people to get in contact with their MPs and make sure that the TEF cannot be used to set differential fees. Check out today!