Degree courses to be get ‘Olympic’ style ratings

12 Mar 18

Degree courses will be rated on a gold, silver and bronze system to highlight good and poor teaching, universities minister Sam Gyimah has said.

This would extend the Teaching Excellence and Student Outcomes Framework to subject level with the aim of helping prospective students compare courses across universities. At present, this rates institutions as gold, silver or bronze.

He said this would show which courses provided excellent tuition and which were coasting or relying on their reputation for research without this necessarily feeding through to undergraduate teaching.

The government has been concerned that the introduction of £9,000 maximum tuition fees led to this being an almost universal charge rather than, as intended, encouraging competition among universities by allowing them to offer differential fees.

Gyimah said: “Prospective students deserve to know which courses deliver great teaching and great outcomes – and which ones are lagging behind.

“In the age of the student, universities will no longer be able to hide if their teaching quality is not up to the world-class standard that we expect.”

The Department for Education has launched a 10-week consultation, alongside a pilot of the scheme among 50 institutions.

A spokesperson for Universities UK said: “[The framework] will stand or fall by whether it can provide accurate and meaningful information to inform student choice. 

“The assessment of subjects needs to be effective and not overly burdensome. The independent review, to be held in the next year, will be important in judging the success of this pilot.”

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