The report sets out the advice of independent academic experts who carried out the assessment for the OfS during the 2022-23 academic year. The assessment included on-site visits, with the teams considering a range of evidence, including from staff and students.
The assessment team found three areas of concern.
A report published today sets out the findings of the assessment team.
Jean Arnold, Deputy Director of Quality at the OfS, said:
‘This quality assessment report shows the rigorous approach of the academic experts undertaking this important work for the OfS. The assessment team has visited the provider, met with staff and students, and carefully considered a range of evidence before reaching its judgements on issues that matter to students. These assessments are an essential part of our work to ensure that students from all backgrounds are appropriately supported on high quality courses that equip them with the knowledge and skills they need for life after graduation.
‘At the University of Bedfordshire, for the period from 2016-17 to 2019-20, the non-continuation rate for students on undergraduate business and management courses was 40.7 per cent. The assessment report identifies three concerns. The assessors found that the way courses are delivered – through a traditional model designed for full-time students – provided limited flexibility for students, particularly who may be juggling study with full-time work and caring commitments. The assessors also identified limited central monitoring by the university of students’ engagement with their courses, for example the attendance policy was under development and therefore not in place at the time of the assessment. Monitoring of module failures was not sufficient to allow the university to proactively offer additional support to students where this might have been needed. While the university has strategies to address non-continuation, the assessment team found limited evidence of their effective implementation. There were steps the university could have taken to improve its understanding of the reasons for continuation rates being low compared with other similar courses.
‘Today’s report does not contain the OfS’s regulatory judgement about the quality of business and management courses at the University of Bedfordshire. Before taking any regulatory decisions, the OfS will look closely at the assessment team’s findings and consider the next steps in the investigation, which may include considering whether any regulatory action is appropriate.’