Earlier this week, ‘providers’ (i.e. participating universities and colleges) were informed by HEFCE of their Year 2 TEF results, and at midnight today all the results were made public on the HEFCE website. Alongside the final results all metrics data and written submissions have been made public, too (although universities have the right to appeal if they object to the category in which they were placed until 27th January 2017, and some are expected to do so).
So, have there been any surprises? Yes and no. It was expected that newer, more teaching-led universities like Aston and Loughborough would lead (and both of them did indeed receive a Gold status), and that traditional “red brick” universities would come out lower in the ranks. This has partially been the case.
Of the Russell Group universities, for example, the results have been a bit of a mixed bag. The majority of these 24 institutions obtained Silver status, with six of them being awarded Gold (University of Birmingham, the University of Exeter, Imperial College London, the University of Leeds, Newcastle University, and the University of Nottingham). However, three were merely given Bronze – the University of Liverpool, the University of Southampton and – most notably – the London School of Economics. It has been revealed that most Russell Group universities ranked in the lower end of Silver, whilst the six Gold institutions only narrowly made it across the benchmark.
Which brings us to the next point: the metrics. It has widely been said that existing metrics are unsuitable for measuring teaching excellence; the publication of the results now demonstrates the important role the written submissions, which are heavily focused on qualitative data, have played. Without undertaking a detailed analysis it is difficult to say exactly why, but anecdotal evidence shows that the universities with ‘weaker’ metrics managed to obtain higher scores by submitting persuasive ‘soft’ information. For example, Durham University had a similar dataset to Nottingham, but ‘only’ received Silver status, compared to Nottingham’s Gold; in fact, Nottingham’s scores on student satisfaction were quite a bit below the set benchmark for Gold.
Clear winners of the TEF exercise are the colleges of Creative and Performing Arts. Most of them received Gold status, despite many not scoring very high on the employment and employability metrics (the latter is obviously owing to the nature of courses they teach).
What does all this mean for the publishing industry? At present, it’s difficult to gauge, but it’s worth noting that this new TEF status has been awarded for three years. Re-submissions will be accepted, but none of the Gold institutions is expected to take the risk of losing its standing. However, there have been claims that Gold might be both a blessing and a curse – some universities have already announced budget cuts for projects designed to improve student satisfaction: after all, they did receive Gold, so clearly no further improvements are needed?!?
To determine the full extent of opportunities and impacts for the publishing industry, a full analysis of the metrics and – most importantly – the written submissions will need to be carried out. Gold Leaf will do more work on this over the summer.
A quick look at just half a dozen of the submissions shows that the Library seems to feature quite prominently in the more successful ones; and while provision of learning resources tends not to play a direct role, some universities found it worthwhile to highlight their participation in EBA or PDA purchasing schemes, and / or the direct relationship with publishers they enjoy.
This could be a good starting point for a more detailed analysis of submissions. We’ll keep you posted!
A list of the TEF results for the institutions that participated in the report “Resource Provision in Higher Education: Implications of the TEF and related initiatives” can be found below.
If you have any questions or wish to purchase a copy of the full report, please send us an email.
Gold Leaf also offers entirely customised seminars to individual companies featuring a 4-hour seminar on the TEF in your offices.
We would be delighted to support the industry in taking the study forward by working with individual publishers or booksellers or with syndicated groups on the future developments of the TEF, its metrics and the implications on learning resources.
We look forward to hearing from you.
|University of Aberdeen||Opted out|
|University of Bedfordshire||Silver|
|University of Cambridge||Gold|
|University of Edinburgh||Opted out|
|University of Gloucestershire||Silver|
|University of Greenwich||Silver|
|University of Huddersfield||Gold|
|Imperial College London||Gold|
|King’s College London||Silver|
|University of Lincoln||Gold|
|University of Nottingham||Gold|
|Nottingham Trent University||Gold|
|The Open University||Opted out|
|Oxford Brookes University||Silver|
|University of Reading||Silver|
|University of Salford||Bronze|
|Sheffield Hallam University||Silver|
|University of St Andrews||Gold|
|University of Surrey||Gold|
|University of Sussex||Silver|
|University College London||Silver|
|University of Westminster||Bronze|
|University of Worcester||Silver|
|Writtle University College||Bronze|
|University of York||Silver|