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Learn to love the TEF

Students want high quality teaching, so university leaders should support the teaching excellence framework.

Since the results of the teaching excellence framework have been released, questions have been raised about the validity of its approach. Although it may be possible to make methodological improvements, I believe we should focus on welcoming the exercise as the first attempt to assess and recognise excellent teaching. Students want great quality teaching, so shouldn’t universities be doing more to ensure students have access to information on this?

According to the latest survey of the student academic experience, teaching quality stands out as being a major driver of perceived value for many students. Meanwhile an international student survey found that 69 per cent strongly agreed that a university having highly qualified teaching staff was an important indicator of quality. The UK has fantastic universities—the best in the world—and, while 90 per cent of students in England said that their teaching “staff were good at explaining things” in the 2016 national student survey, some students have had concerns about teaching quality. For example, in 2014 Which? reported on how some students felt that they were taught in an unstructured and disorganised way.

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