Leader: Data have use-by date

August 6, 2004

No one should be surprised universities are finding it hard to deliver ministers' promises to provide detailed information to replace teaching quality assessments. The claims made for the new system were exaggerated to excuse the withdrawal of the one objective measure of courses available to applicants. There were good reasons for universities to object to the burden of assessment, but the alternative was no substitute. External examiners' reports do not lend themselves to the promised summary presentation, while many courses have too few students to be confident that a single year's dropout rate or graduate destinations are representative.

Another delay over the summer will not inconvenience applicants unduly - better to wait for the agreed data than cause yet more confusion by having to correct the figures later. But the autumn is peak time for decision-making and some sort of service (albeit a restricted one) must be ready by then. With some subjects' assessments now seriously dated, and the proposed student satisfaction survey still a distant prospect, the commitments to transparency that accompanied the abandonment of subject reviews look increasingly worthless for the current generation of applicants.

You've reached your article limit.

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Most Commented

James Fryer illustration (27 July 2017)

It is not Luddism to be cautious about destroying an academic publishing industry that has served us well, says Marilyn Deegan

Hand squeezing stress ball
Working 55 hours per week, the loss of research periods, slashed pensions, increased bureaucracy, tiny budgets and declining standards have finally forced Michael Edwards out
Jeffrey Beall, associate professor and librarian at the University of Colorado Denver

Creator of controversial predatory journals blacklist says some peers are failing to warn of dangers of disreputable publishers

Kayaker and jet skiiers

Nazima Kadir’s social circle reveals a range of alternative careers for would-be scholars, and often with better rewards than academia

hole in ground

‘Drastic action’ required to fix multibillion-pound shortfall in Universities Superannuation Scheme, expert warns