Student outcomes and excellence

The future of the Quality and standards Excellence Framework (TEF)

What was this consultation about?

Our consultation on the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) looked at the changes following a review in January 2021.

The TEF was first introduced in 2016, and provided universities and colleges with a gold, silver, bronze or provisional rating based on the quality of their teaching and student outcomes.

You can read more about the TEF.

What did we propose?

We have proposed that universities and colleges will receive a TEF rating based on: 

  • The student experience - the extent to which teaching, learning, assessment and the educational environment deliver an excellent academic experience for students
  • Student outcomes - the extent to which students succeed in their studies and progress into graduate-level employment or further study.

Ratings would be based on:

  • Written evidence provided by the university or college
  • Independent student submissions on the quality of their experience, provided through a nominated student contact
  • Data from the National Student Survey (NSS) and other sources. The NSS is an annual survey of final-year higher education students which gathers students’ opinions on the quality of their courses. We would also use data on how many students continue and complete their courses, and what students go on to do.

We want to make sure that students have a greater opportunity to contribute than they have previously.

That’s why we have proposed that universities and colleges nominate a TEF student contact who would be responsible for co-ordinating the student submission on behalf of students.

The next TEF exercise would take place in 2022-23, with the student submission expected to be submitted to the OfS in autumn 2022.

Ratings would be set by an independent panel made up of higher education experts, including students. 

The panel would assess how well each university or college delivers an excellent student experience and positive student outcomes for its mix of students and courses.

Alongside the current ratings of gold, silver and bronze, we are also proposing a lower category of 'requires improvement' where there is not enough evidence of excellence for a university or college to receive a TEF rating.

We plan to publish the TEF rating of universities and colleges on the OfS Register and the Discover Uni website.

We would also request that other student information sites, such as UCAS, publish TEF ratings.

We expect that publishing the data will:

  • incentivise universities and colleges to make improvements, by putting a spotlight on the quality of courses
  • help to inform student choice.

Proposals of most interest to students

We welcomed your feedback on any of our proposals but here are some specific areas that may be of most interest to students:

  • Do you agree with the proposal for student submissions, including the role of the TEF student contact?
    We asked you to read more in proposal 8 and Annex D of our consultation and to respond to question 8.
Read the TEF consultation
Published 20 January 2022
Last updated 26 July 2022
26 July 2022
Link to consultation outcomes added
18 March 2022
The consultation closed on 17 March 2022.

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