The nanny assessors

May 15, 1998

TALKS on draft QAA proposals for assessing teaching quality have failed to point out that the result will be a further Gadarene rush to neglect teaching and prioritise research.

The proposals offer an integrated long-term perspective. There will be a research assessment exercise in 2001 with clear priorities for institutions, departments and individuals. The proposed QAA procedures support that narrow research focus by offering a non-invasive methodology of teaching. They neither get at the student experience nor gather direct evidence of classroom teaching.

I predict that the attacks of the Russell group et al on minor aspects of the QAA draft will divert government, taxpayers and students from a critical appraisal of these absurd proposals. Government will then tell us how things are getting so much better because staff will be trained as teachers, and students and parents will pay more for less teaching quality.

Alan Jenkins, Centre for staff and learning development, Oxford Brookes University

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