Rankings rankle 1

May 28, 2004

The exclusion from last week's league tables of the oldest teaching quality assessment scores highlights a major issue for table compilers and consumers: when do data lose their currency and relevance and become outdated, inaccurate and misleading? Given the extraordinarily long shelf-life of TQA scores (as far back as 1995 in your tables) at a time of rapid institutional change, one questions the wisdom of reporting scores that do little to reflect current teaching and learning quality. The years since our last TQA visit have witnessed such radical restructuring of programmes, departments and systems that staff and students now operate in an environment barely recognisable from that of the mid-1990s. How meaningful, therefore, are the scores from a previous era, and when does such information become obsolete?

Kristyan Spelman Miller
Reading University

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