10 March 2019
In recent years there has been a trend away from the evaluation of research towards the assessment of excellence in teaching and learning. This is in part an attempt to provide useful information to students and other stakeholders. One example of this is the creation of the English Teaching Excellence Framework, now known as the Teaching Excellence and Student Outcomes Framework. The framework awards grades of gold, silver and bronze based on responses to the United Kingdom National Student Survey (NSS) and data on retention, employment and further study from the Higher Education Statistics Agency, the Individualised Learner Record, and Destination of Leavers from Higher Education.
The Royal Statistical Society has, however, just released a report that renews criticism that it presented in 2016. This includes the lack of evidence for a link between teaching quality and employment, low response rates in the NSS, the weighting of metrics, and the possibility of ‘gaming’ of indicators, especially the NSS.
In addition, the report expressed concern about the 2018 subject level consultations. These included a lack of attention to issues of equality and diversity, problems with joint and multi-subject programmes and the absence of a costs-benefits analysis.