Study shows quality does not inform choices

November 5, 1999

Students and employers largely ignore official teaching quality information when choosing a university or recruiting a graduate, according to a study published by the funding councils this week.

The study found that two-thirds of university and college applicants either are unaware that official information on teaching quality exists or do not bother to consult it.

Most of those who do use information on quality rely on material from institutions, league tables and schools careers advisers. Just 12 per cent consider the reports produced by the Quality Assurance Agency to be the single most important source of information on quality.

Employers pay even less regard to teaching quality information. Some 95 per cent of employers ignore teaching quality measures. The 5 per cent who do use information on teaching quality to target graduates still rely more on colleagues' perceptions and league tables.

The QAA is planning to revamp its reporting from the next cycle of reviews.

"One of the key things the QAA will be doing is producing a summary review report for each inspection. We need to make sure we talk to key stakeholders in language that is accessible and informative," said John Randall, chief executive of the QAA. Stakeholders could include students, employers, funding bodies and institutions.

A spokesman for the Association of Graduate Recruiters said: "I am in favour of more openness. Information on the quality of teaching should be made more accessible to those employers who want it."

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