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English universities to be ranked gold, silver and bronze

by John Dunn | Nov 09, 2016
  • The UK’s Teaching Excellence Framework’s (TEF) new ranking system will soon enable students in England to choose universities based on teaching quality. Universities will be categorised as either gold, silver or bronze from the middle of 2017.
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    The new framework, which is administered by the Department for Education, aims to have the ratings in place in time for students  planning to start university in the autumn of 2017.

    Apart from helping students to better choose their university, these ratings will also dictate which universities will be able to raise their fees to match inflation from 2018.

    Ratings will look at a number of factors, including dropout rates, student satisfaction and graduate employment.

    The original classifications of “meets expectations”, “excellent” and “outstanding”, have been changed to gold, silver and bronze. The thought behind this being that “excellent” and “outstanding” were too similar in meaning and could result in confusion among applicants.

    Universities awarded gold will boast “outstanding levels of stretch that ensures all students are significantly challenged to achieve their full potential”. Students at these institutions will be “frequently engaged with developments from the forefront of research, scholarship or practice”.

    Silver will refer to universities that offer courses whereby “high levels of stretch ensure all students are significantly challenged”.

    Bronze will not be considered third place, but rather refers to universities where “provision is of satisfactory quality… however, the provider is likely to be significantly below benchmark in one or more areas.”

    Universities from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have the option of participating in the TEF, should they choose to. However, ratings will not affect their future funding.

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