Leading universities rated ‘bronze’ under new ranking system – BBC News

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Several leading universities have failed to score highly in a new ranking of degree teaching standards.

The Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) has rated 295 institutions bronze, silver or gold according to their standard of undergraduate teaching.

Gold went to 59 and silver to 116.

The lowest score of bronze was awarded to 56 – including the London School of Economics (LSE), Southampton, Liverpool, Goldsmiths and the School of Oriental and African Studies (Soas).

The new teaching rankings aim to help students make informed choices about degree courses, but many universities rated as bronze have criticised the system as unfair and unreliable.

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Drop-out rates

The TEF, which was introduced by the previous government, is being administered by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (Hefce).

Degree providers – a mixture of universities, colleges offering degree courses and alternative providers – could choose whether or not to take part.

However, those awarded a bronze or higher – all institutions that took part, besides 64 who were given a provisional rating – are now set to be able to raise tuition fees, which currently stand at about 9,000, in line with inflation in 2018-19.

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Higher education providers are assessed on a range of measures, including facilities, student satisfaction, drop-out rates and whether students go on to employment or further study after graduating.

It is based on data and not actual inspections of lectures or other teaching.

Ten further education colleges that offer degrees received the top ranking of gold, alongside some elite universities.

Differences between institutions, such as entry qualifications and subjects studied, were taken into account by an independent panel – made up of 27 academics, students, employers and experts in widening participation – which made the final awards.

A gold award means a university is of the highest quality found in the UK, providing “consistently outstanding teaching, learning and outcomes for its students”, while the silver award was given for consistently exceeding “rigorous national quality requirements for UK higher education” and bronze was awarded to those that met these national requirements.

The ranking of provisional is given to those institutions that do not yet have sufficient data to be fully assessed.

Hefce said the rankings measured the issues that students cared about:

  • high-quality, engaged teaching
  • a supportive, stimulating learning environment
  • having the knowledge and skills they need to achieve their potential
  • the opportunity to progress to a good job or further study

Madeleine Atkins, chief executive of Hefce, said students invested significant amounts of time and money in their higher education and “rightly expected a high-quality learning experience and outcomes”.

Prof Chris Husbands, who chairs the TEF assessment panel, said he hoped the TEF “provided clear and easily understandable ratings to be used alongside other information”.

He stressed that within individual awards, universities may have elements of others – for example a university awarded bronze could have elements of gold or silver.

Nick Hillman, director of the Higher Education Policy Institute, said the fact that some of the results “seemed surprising” suggested the TEF was working.

“The TEF would have comprehensively failed if it had simply replicated existing hierarchies,” he said.

“It was always designed to do something different to other league tables and rankings – namely, to show where there are pockets of excellence that have been ignored and to encourage improvements elsewhere.”

But he added that students should remember the TEF did not “accurately reflects precisely what goes on in lecture halls”.

“I hope university applicants will use the results in their decision-making – but they should do so with caution, not least because the ratings are for whole universities rather than individual courses,” he said.

Sir Christopher Snowden, president and vice-chancellor of the University of Southampton, which received a bronze award, said it was “hard to have confidence in a TEF which appears devoid of any meaningful assessment of teaching”.

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“I know I am not alone in having deep concerns about its subjective assessment, its lack of transparency, and with different benchmarks for each institution removing any sense of equity and equality of assessment,” he said.

“Our own student satisfaction metrics, including satisfaction with teaching, are better than some of those universities who have been awarded silver and gold today.”

Southampton intends to appeal against its rating.

Dr Deborah Johnston, pro-director of Soas, said she was concerned that the TEF did not “accurately reflect what we do”.

“There is clearly also a London effect, with one in three London institutions achieving bronze, compared to just one in eight outside London.

“The metrics were not benchmarked for London, when we believe there was a significant difference for London institutions, for example in relation to retention rates due to costs of living.”

In a statement, the University of Liverpool said it was disappointing to receive a bronze rating, but added that the TEF was “not an absolute measure of quality”.

“By other widely recognised rankings, the University of Liverpool is consistently named in the top 200 universities globally,” it said.

“Nonetheless, we’re committed to improving against the measures used in the TEF.”

Patrick Loughrey, warden of Goldsmiths said the TEF rating showed “we must improve in a number of areas to ensure our students have the best possible experience during their time here”.

“We are already working hard to do this, and look forward to meeting these challenges together over the coming months and years” he said.

Interim director of the LSE, Prof Julia Black, said there were limits to the measures the TEF used, but added: “We recognise that we have work to do, but we are confident that the education initiatives that we have under way will lead to improvements for our students.”

University of Abertay Dundee Silver
ABI College Limited Provisional
Abingdon and Witney College Silver
The Academy of Contemporary Music Limited Provisional
Access to Music Limited Provisional
Accrington and Rossendale College Bronze
Activate Learning Silver
ALRA Provisional
Amersham & Wycombe College Bronze
Anglia Ruskin University Silver
Anglo-European College of Chiropractic Silver
Architectural Association (Incorporated) Provisional
The Arts University Bournemouth Gold
University of the Arts, London Silver
Askham Bryan College Bronze
Assemblies of God Incorporated Provisional
Aston University Gold
Aylesbury College Bronze
Bangor University Gold
The University of Bath Gold
Bath Spa University Silver
University of Bedfordshire Silver
BIMM Limited Provisional
Birkbeck College Silver
The University of Birmingham Gold
University College Birmingham Silver
Birmingham City University Silver
Bishop Burton College Bronze
Bishop Grosseteste University Gold
Blackburn College Bronze
Blackpool and the Fylde College Gold
BMC (Brooksby Melton College) Bronze
The University of Bolton Silver
Bournemouth University Silver
Bournville College Provisional
BPP University Limited Bronze
The University of Bradford Silver
Bradford College Bronze
University of Brighton Silver
University of Bristol Silver
Bristol Baptist College Provisional
Brit College Limited Provisional
The British School of Osteopathy Bronze
Brunel University London Silver
The University of Buckingham Gold
Buckinghamshire New University Bronze
Calderdale College Silver
University of Cambridge Gold
Cambridge Regional College Bronze
Canterbury Christ Church University Silver
Canterbury College Silver
Cardiff Metropolitan University Silver
Cardiff University Silver
Cardinal Newman College Provisional
University of Central Lancashire Silver
University of Chester Silver
The University of Chichester Silver
Chichester College Silver
The Chicken Shed Theatre Trust Silver
Cirencester College Provisional
City and Guilds of London Art School Limited Provisional
City College Plymouth Gold
City of Bristol College Silver
The City of Liverpool College Gold
City, University of London Silver
Cleveland College of Art and Design Gold
Colchester Institute Silver
The Conservatoire for Dance and Drama Gold
Cornwall College Silver
Courtauld Institute of Art Silver
Coventry University Gold
University for the Creative Arts Silver
Croydon College Provisional
The University of Cumbria Bronze
CWR Provisional
Darlington College Silver
De Montfort University Gold
University of Derby Gold
Doncaster College Bronze
University of Dundee Gold
University of Durham Silver
Ealing, Hammersmith & West London College Provisional
The University of East Anglia Silver
East Durham College Silver
East End Computing & Business College Limited Provisional
East Kent College Provisional
University of East London Bronze
East Riding College Bronze
Edge Hill University Gold
The Edward James Foundation Limited Provisional
The University of Essex Gold
University College of Estate Management Provisional
University of Exeter Gold
Exeter College Gold
Fairfield School of Business Ltd Provisional
Falmouth University Gold
Fareham College Provisional
Farnborough College of Technology Bronze
Furness College Silver
Futureworks Training Limited Provisional
Gateshead College Silver
University of Gloucestershire Silver
Goldsmiths College Bronze
Grafton College Limited Provisional
Greater Brighton Metropolitan College Silver
University of Greenwich Silver
Grimsby Institute of Further and Higher Education Bronze
Guildhall School of Music & Drama Silver
Hadlow College Bronze
Halesowen College Silver
Harper Adams University Gold
Hartlepool College of Further Education Silver
Hartpury College Gold
Heart of Worcestershire College Silver
Hereford College of Arts Silver
Heriot-Watt University Silver
Hertford Regional College Silver
University of Hertfordshire Silver
Highbury College Portsmouth Bronze
Holy Cross College Provisional
Hopwood Hall College Bronze
The University of Huddersfield Gold
Hugh Baird College Gold
The University of Hull Silver
Hull College Bronze
Hy Education Limited Provisional
ICMP Management Limited Provisional
Imperial College London Gold
Kaplan Open Learning (Essex) Limited Silver
University of Keele Gold
Kensington Education Foundation Limited Provisional
The University of Kent Gold
The Kingham Hill Trust Provisional
King’s College London Silver
Kingston College Silver
Kingston Maurward College Bronze
Kingston University Bronze
Kirklees College Silver
KLC Limited Provisional
The University of Lancaster Gold
The University of Law Limited Gold
The University of Leeds Gold
Leeds Beckett University Silver
Leeds City College Bronze
Leeds College of Art Silver
Leeds Trinity University Silver
The University of Leicester Silver
Leicester College Gold
University of Lincoln Gold
Lincoln College Silver
The University of Liverpool Bronze
Liverpool Hope University Gold
The Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts Gold
Liverpool John Moores University Silver
University College London Silver
London Bridge Business Academy Limited Provisional
London College of Creative Media Limited Provisional
The London Institute of Banking & Finance Provisional
London Metropolitan University Bronze
London School of Business and Management Limited Provisional
The London School of Economics and Political Science Bronze
London School of Management Education Limited Provisional
London School of Science & Technology Limited Provisional
London School of Theology Provisional
London South Bank University Silver
London Studio Centre Limited Silver
Loughborough College Silver
Loughborough University Gold
Luther King House Educational Trust Provisional
Macclesfield College Provisional
The University of Manchester Silver
LTE Group Silver
Manchester Metropolitan University Silver
Met Film School Limited Provisional
Middlesbrough College Gold
Middlesex University Silver
Milton Keynes College Bronze
Moorlands College Provisional
Myerscough College Silver
Nazarene Theological College Provisional
NCG Silver
Neath Port Talbot College Silver
Nelson College London Limited Provisional
New College Durham Bronze
New College Stamford Silver
Newbury College Provisional
University of Newcastle upon Tyne Gold
Newham College of Further Education Provisional
Newman University Silver
Norland College Limited Provisional
North East Surrey College of Technology Bronze
North Hertfordshire College Silver
North Lindsey College Silver
North West Regional College Provisional
The University of Northampton Gold
Northampton College Silver
Northern College of Acupuncture Provisional
Northumberland College Bronze
University of Northumbria at Newcastle Silver
Norwich University of the Arts Gold
The University of Nottingham Gold
Nottingham Trent University Gold
Oaklands College Silver
The School of Oriental and African Studies Bronze
University of Oxford Gold
Oxford Brookes University Silver
Oxford Business College UK Limited Provisional
Pearson College Limited Provisional
Petroc Silver
Plumpton College Bronze
University of Plymouth Bronze
Plymouth College of Art Bronze
Point Blank Limited Provisional
University of Portsmouth Gold
Preston College Bronze
Queen Mary University of London Silver
The Queen’s Foundation for Ecumenical Theological Education Provisional
Ravensbourne Silver
The University of Reading Silver
Reaseheath College Bronze
Redcar & Cleveland College Silver
RNN Group Silver
The Robert Gordon University Gold
Roehampton University Bronze
Rose Bruford College of Theatre and Performance Gold
The Royal Academy of Music Gold
The Royal Agricultural University Silver
The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama Gold
Royal College of Music Gold
Royal Holloway, University of London Silver
Royal Northern College of Music Gold
The Royal Veterinary College Gold
RTC Education Ltd Provisional
SAE Education Limited Provisional
The University of Salford Bronze
Salford City College Bronze
The Salvation Army Provisional
Selby College Silver
The University of Sheffield Silver
Sheffield Hallam University Silver
Solihull College and University Centre Gold
South & City College Birmingham Silver
South Devon College Gold
South Tyneside College Silver
South West College Provisional
University of Southampton Bronze
Southampton Solent University Bronze
Southport College Bronze
Sparsholt College Silver
Spurgeon’s College Provisional
University of St Andrews Gold
University of St Mark & St John Silver
St Mary’s University, Twickenham Silver
St. George’s, University of London Bronze
Staffordshire University Silver
Stockton Riverside College Silver
Stratford College London Limited Provisional
Strode College Silver
University of Suffolk Bronze
University of Sunderland Silver
Sunderland College Silver
The University of Surrey Gold
University of Sussex Silver
Sussex Coast College Hastings Provisional
Sussex Downs College Silver
Swansea University Silver
Teesside University Silver
Tertiary Education Services Limited Provisional
Tresham College of Further and Higher Education Provisional
Trinity College (Bristol) Limited Provisional
Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance Bronze
Truro and Penwith College Gold
Tyne Metropolitan College Bronze
UCK Limited Provisional
UK College of Business and Computing Ltd Provisional
Wakefield College Silver
University of Wales Trinity Saint David Bronze
The University of Warwick Silver
Warwickshire College Bronze
West Herts College Gold
West Kent and Ashford College Silver
The University of West London Silver
University of the West of England, Bristol Silver
The University of Westminster Bronze
Weston College of Further and Higher Education Gold
Wigan and Leigh College Silver
Wiltshire College Bronze
University of Winchester Silver
University of Wolverhampton Bronze
University of Worcester Silver
Wrexham Glyndwr University Silver
Writtle University College Bronze
University of York Silver
York College Silver
York St John University Bronze

Read more: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-40356423

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