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A critical moment for the quality debate

With debates about the future of quality in UK higher education hotting up behind the scenes, Mark Leach looks at the forthcoming HEFCE consultation and the potential huge implications that it has for the sector and how it is regulated, as well as for the future quality assurance itself.

A tale of two quality systems?

As HEFCE publish their long awaiting consultation on the future of quality assessment, Mark Leach revisits the proposals, the debates around them, the early sector reaction and a muddled relationship with the emerging Teaching Excellence Framework.

Academic standards: back to the future

The current discussions around the shape of the TEF could be seen as just another phase in a long running debate about academic standards. It’s worth therefore going back to inform thinking about the future.

Are UK universities being cast academically adrift?

On the publication of the Green Paper and the announcement of the TEF, US academic Christopher Newfield offers the UK policy discussion a view from the recent debates in America about learning gain, metrics and quality.

Back to school with Jo Johnson

Jo Johnson has delivered his much-anticipated speech about higher education ‘Teaching at the heart of the system’. Mark Leach gives his early analysis of the speech and what it all might mean for the coming period of policy.

Balancing the future of the quality system

Alongside QAA’s response to the Quality Assessment Review, Ian Kimber, Director of Quality Development, shares thoughts on the ongoing process, and asks questions about how a Teaching Excellence Framework might work.

Beyond conspiracy: Why TEF plus fees may drive efficiency

The debate about the TEF’s impending link to fees has caused widespread debate in the sector, but what if this measure was interpreted differently – as a measure of inflation ? Gordon McKenzie wonders about the funding choices universities will have to take if the Green Paper proposals are implemented.

Beyond metrics: An open letter to Sir Michael Barber

The new OfS Chair is famous as a disciple of the Third Way in public services. Shân Wareing makes a plea for the future of HE regulation to adhere to the Fourth Way, a less metrics driven and more inclusive approach.

Busting five common myths about the TEF

Chris Husbands’ phone has been ringing off the hook with questions and concerns about the TEF. As Chair of the new exercise, he tries to put to bed some of the more common misunderstandings about the TEF.

Can TEF make waves in Scotland?

Only five Scottish universities chose to enter TEF this year, but there are signs that the exercise will have far greater effects than expected in Caledonia, suggests Alastair Robertson.

Can the TEF survive the arguments made against it?

With the debate about the TEF now truly up and running following the publication of the government’s Green Paper, Emran Mian sets out the some of the stronger and weaker cases against the new framework.

CETLs and the ghosts of teaching excellence past

Taking the long view of government-led teaching excellence initiatives, David Kernohan returns to the Centres for Excellence in Learning and Teaching (CETLs), and draws lessons for the sector and the government today.

Could TEF be good news for disabled students?

The use of split metrics in the TEF could incentivise universities to do more to support disabled students’ attainment and employment prospects, and perhaps make up some of the way for recent cuts to DSA, argues Robert McLaren.

Employability: metrics and definitions

Responding to Johnny Rich’s piece before Christmas which argued that the coming TEF should measure employability rather than employment outcomes, Doug Cole of the Higher Education Academy argues the risks of this approach becoming the prevailing narrative as policy is formulated.