Letter: How the screw was put in scrutiny (8)

August 31, 2001

It is the RAE outcome, and not subject review scores, that is the defining standard by which the old universities judge themselves and, as a result, many academics now regard teaching as a burden and a diversion from their research.The fundamental connection between teaching and research as two sides of the scholarship coin has been lost, resulting in a deterioration in teaching standards.

Because Hefce excluded explicit consideration of research from the TQA process, neither its reviewers nor those of the QAA have been empowered to probe beneath the procedural level of what is being taught. As a result, all 24 points in subject review signify is that a department had the minimum standards in place to assure a reasonable learning experience.

The solution is to bring teaching and research assessment under one review process given real teeth by leveraging a substantial part of the funding to the overall outcome.

The system should apply across the whole sector as any institution that cannot demonstrate that its teaching is based on a commitment to scholarship at the highest level should not be in the business of awarding degrees.

Bob Ryan
Chippenham, Wiltshire 

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