UCL’s only been rated Silver in the Teaching Excellence Framework – what does that really mean?

So apparently Aston, Bangor and Coventry are all better than us

The results of the government’s Teaching Excellence Framework are out today and UCL’s only ended up with a Silver ranking.

So what does this mean? A Silver ranking is supposedly “for delivering high quality teaching, learning and outcomes for its students. It consistently exceeds rigorous national quality requirements for UK higher education.”

The results will supposedly help future students with university choices, as well as encourage teaching and learning excellence across the UK.

While Imperial got Gold, King’s also got Silver and LSE only got Bronze. The question is whether students will actually look at these ratings rather than other university league tables. People are likely to wonder why universities such as Aston University have received a Gold rating despite having far lower rankings than these London universities in other league tables.

Overall, 295 universities, colleges and alternative providers of higher education voluntarily took part in the TEF. 59 providers were rated gold, 116 were rated silver and 56 were rated bronze, the remaining receiving a provisional award where there was not enough data for a full assessment.

The TEF measures excellence in three areas: teaching quality, the learning environment and the educational and professional outcomes achieved by students. The results of this year’s National Student Survey were supposed to provide one of the key measures in the overall assessment; however UCLU’s boycott kept the response rate below 50% and thus this data could not be used. 

Madeleine Atkins, Chief Executive of the Higher Education Funding Council for England, said:

“Students invest significant amounts of time and money in their higher education. They rightly expect a high-quality learning experience and outcomes that reflect their potential. The UK already has a high bar for quality and standards, which all universities and colleges must meet. But the TEF judges excellence above and beyond this, clearly showing the highest levels across the sector.

“The TEF measures the things that students themselves say they care about: high-quality, engaged teaching and a supportive, stimulating learning environment which equips them with the knowledge and skills they need to achieve their potential, and then to progress to a good job or further study.”

You can find the TEF results and the evidence used in the assessment here The TEF awards will also be published on Unistats and the UCAS website.