HEA report on TEF Year 2 submissions highlights the HE sector’s commitment to teaching excellence

Tuesday, 21 November, 2017

A new data-rich trends analysis Evidencing Teaching Excellence: Analysis of Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF2) Provider Submissions, commissioned by the Higher Education Academy (HEA), is released today.

Among the headlines, the report highlights that the strongest submissions – ‘Gold’ and ‘Silver’ - articulated a clear institutional identity and a coherent educational philosophy, with a whole institutional approach to developing, implementing and evaluating strategies, investments and policies which support excellent teaching.

Also common to stronger submissions was the connection of their narratives to the TEF criteria, be that through structuring accordingly or by cross referencing to the specific criteria. High achieving submissions also had strong evidence of student engagement; more than half of those upgraded were commended for student engagement, particularly those providers who were upgraded to ‘Gold’.

The report also explores other commonalities found in the submissions which effected a change from a metric based rating, showing that aspects of institutional culture played a key role in decisions, particularly developing, recognising and rewarding staff. In fact, 95% of all HEIs and over half of FECs (56%) referred to the HEA within their submissions, with 77% directly referencing HEA Fellowship, reflecting the importance of training and continuous professional development for all staff involved in teaching.

However, the report identifies that in general there was a lack of systematic evaluation of the impact at institutional level of strategies and innovations on the student experience and performance.

Dr Mark Jones, HEA Chief Operating Officer, said, “Overall, the report reveals the vibrancy and diversity within UK higher education and a real commitment to excellence in teaching. This is a great endorsement of the fantastic work at all levels to deliver a superb student academic experience.

“I was also delighted to see that there were significant references to the HEA within high achieving submissions, reflecting the importance of training and continuous professional development for all staff involved in teaching.

“There are indications that future developments in TEF, such as the introduction of a teaching intensity metric, may run counter to how institutions are achieving teaching excellence. Indeed, as the TEF begins to see further changes, such as the addition of grade inflation metric and the reduction in weighting of the NSS, there is a danger that it moves increasingly further away from teaching excellence, becoming instead an instrument for policy makers’ latest concerns.”

The full report along with the HEA’s full response and infographic are here.