League table language gaps

May 30, 1997

THE SUBJECT quality league table which you published is intended to help would-be students decide which university or college has the best teaching. In the case of modern languages it is incomplete and misleading.

You have listed the results of single-subject assessments in the languages covered by the Higher Education Funding Council for England quality assessment exercise last academic year. However, a significant number of modern languages departments opted for joint language assessments resulting in a collective points score for their educational provision. In the case of the department of modern languages at the University of Northumbria, French, German, Russian and Spanish were assessed collectively, and the resulting score was 23. Only one other languages department in England, at Queen Mary and Westfield College, achieved such a high score for such a joint assessment. Your league table therefore deprives would-be language students of key information.

David Head

Department of modern languages, University of Northumbria

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