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17th Jul 2018
The results of the 2017 Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) have been published, with more than 230 universities and higher education institutions in the UK being awarded one of three available medals.
The newly released TEF rankings are a government-backed assessment of undergraduate teaching quality, which aims to provide a guide to prospective students when choosing where to study.
The TEF is a voluntary framework, with participating institutions receiving a Gold, Silver or Bronze award, which reflect their quality of teaching, learning environment and student outcomes such as employability.
Those being awarded a TEF ranking will be able to increase their tuition fees in line with inflation, although the Department for Education is yet to confirm what the 2018-19 fees cap will be.
Some notable institutions that received the lowest award include the London School of Economics, The University of Southampton, and the University of Liverpool, all of which are Russell Group members.
In total, more than half of Russell Group institutions, usually described as being the best in the country, did not score a Gold rating.
Understandably some of those, including the University of Southampton, are less than pleased with the award they've been given.
Commenting on the results, Sir Christopher Snowden, said: "I know I am not alone in having deep concerns about its subjective assessment, its lack of transparency, and with different benchmarks for each institution removing any sense of equity and equality of assessment.
"Our own student satisfaction metrics, including satisfaction with teaching, are better than some of those universities who have been awarded silver and gold today."
Similarly, the University of Liverpool said it was disappointed with its Bronze award. Other league tables consistently place the institution within the top 200 universities globally, but the university said it was committed to improving against the measures used in the TEF.
Defending the results, the Higher Education Policy Institute argued that TEF would have failed if it had simply replicated existing hierarchies. However, they suggested prospective students should use the rankings with caution, as they are not reflective of individual courses but of a university as a whole.
A full table of results can be found via the Higher Education Funding Council for England's website.
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