Key performance measure 12

The extent to which providers effectively demonstrate the learning gain of their students

In development: We have paused some activity due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic (see information on our business plan for further details). We hope to specify this measure soon.

About the measure

Learning gain is defined in various ways, and often refers to improvements in knowledge, skills, work-readiness, and personal development made by students during their time in higher education.

A programme of learning gain pilots concluded there is no single proxy or measure of learning gain that would be applicable to all students across the sector, and learning gain is best defined and measured in its local context.

The Office for Students (OfS) believes it important that providers should articulate, understand and demonstrate the learning gain that their students achieve, using approaches that are appropriate to their educational context.

All providers taking part in the future Teaching Excellence and Student Outcomes Framework (TEF) will need to include their own assessment of learning gain, and will be judged by the TEF panel on how effectively they articulate and demonstrate the learning gain of their students.

This KPM would initially be a measure of how many providers in the next TEF exercise are judged to have a credible approach to articulating and measuring the learning gain of their students.

The measure could then be strengthened over time in subsequent TEF exercises, by looking at the number of providers judged to demonstrate high levels of learning gain. Strengthening of this KPM after the next TEF could by supported by analysing the approaches put forward by providers and identifying and promoting effective practice.

Please note: This KPM would be contingent on the learning gain aspect being included in the next TEF exercise, which will not be decided until the government responds to the independent review into the TEF.


We are always trying to improve our approach to measurement.

If you have any queries about our overall approach or on individual measures, please contact Josh Fleming at [email protected].

Published 15 October 2020

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