What is the TEF? Results of the teaching excellence framework 2018

The results of the teaching excellence framework (TEF) and what they mean for students

June 7 2018
Winners' podium

What is the TEF?

The teaching excellence framework (TEF) is a system that assesses the quality of teaching in universities in England. It also includes some universities from Scotland and Wales.

The framework was introduced by the government in 2017 to provide a resource for students to judge teaching quality in universities and to increase the importance of teaching excellence (and bring it into line with research excellence) when rating institutions. It is important to note that currently the TEF analyses only undergraduate teaching.

Universities are classified gold, silver or bronze. These ratings are determined by six core metrics based on teaching, academic support and progression to employment. Universities also submitted a 15-page document to a panel of higher education experts and students, which was used alongside the metrics to determine a rating.

How was the TEF calculated?

Universities opted into the TEF and provided the government with data to generate a classification. Last year, in the first year of the TEF, more than 130 higher education institutions and alternative providers applied and were ranked. This year for 2018, less than 30 higher education institutions applied or reapplied for the 2018 ranking. 

An independent group of academics, students and employers assessed the universities. This assessment was based across six core metrics and a submission from each university. Institutions were encouraged to show how they involved students while preparing their submissions. Universities were then given a gold, silver or bronze award. There were some tweaks to the methodology for the 2018 table, with the weighting placed on results of the National Student Survey being halved and a supplementary metric on graduate earnings introduced.

A rating of gold means that a university has demonstrated the highest-quality teaching standards and is consistently outstanding. The institution provides outstanding outcomes for students from all backgrounds, particularly in terms of retention and progression. The university also offers students outstanding physical and digital resources.

A silver rating means that the university is high quality and regularly exceeds the baseline quality expected of higher education institutions in the same categories listed above.

A bronze rating means that the provision of the university is of satisfactory quality. Most students will achieve good outcomes, but the provider is performing significantly below the benchmark in one or more areas.

What do the TEF results show?

For some universities, such as the University of Liverpool and the University of Southampton, a resubmission was beneficial as they managed to increase their score from a bronze rating to a silver rating this year.

However, the London School of Economics and Political Science, the only other Russell Group university to receive a bronze rating last year chose not to reapply this year. Two other Russell Group members that got silver last year, Durham University and the University of York, were able to achieve a gold rating this year, through reapplying. 

However, the University of Warwick was unable to improve on last year's score and was again awarded a silver rating, while Soas, University of London maintained it's bronze level rating from last year too. (Author's edit: 31 October 2018 - Soas's rating was changed to silver following an appeal of the results).  

Can students use the TEF?

The TEF is effectively another resource for students, both domestic and international, to help them decide where to go to university in England.

The main difference is that the TEF is a government-stamped resource and some students may consider that to be important when choosing a university.

As the universities are classified according to a series of metrics focused on teaching quality, the TEF offers students a resource to see which institutions excel in this area, as well as determining which universities are good for graduate prospects and student satisfaction.

There are a multitude of resources that students can use alongside the TEF, such as the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2018, which rank universities in the UK alongside universities throughout the world.

See below the 2018 and 2017 TEF results for universities and alternative providers with university status.

University  TEF Result THE World University Ranking 2018 Year of Award 
Arts University Bournemouth Gold NR 2017
Aberystywth University Gold 301-350 2018
Aston University Gold 351-400 2017
Bangor University Gold 301-350 2017
University of Bath Gold 251-300 2017
University of Birmingham Gold =141 2017
Bishop Grosseteste University Gold NR 2017
University of Buckingham Gold NR 2017
University of Cambridge Gold 2 2017
Conservatoire for Dance and Drama Gold NR 2017
Coventry University Gold 601-800 2017
De Montfort University Gold 601-800 2017
University of Derby Gold 801-1000 2017
University of Dundee Gold 187 2017
Durham University Gold 97 2018
University of East Anglia Gold =188 2017
Edge Hill University Gold NR 2017
University of Essex Gold 251-300 2017
University of Exeter Gold =130 2017
Falmouth University Gold NR 2017
Guildhall School of Music and Drama Gold NR 2018
Harper Adams University Gold NR 2018
University of Hertfordshire Gold 501-600 2018
University of Huddersfield Gold 601-800 2017
Imperial College London Gold 8 2017
Kaplan Open Learning (Essex) Gold NR 2018
Keele University Gold 501-600 2017
University of Kent Gold 301-350 2017
Lancaster University Gold =150 2017
University of Law Gold NR 2017
University of Leeds Gold 139 2017
University of Lincoln Gold 601-800 2017
Liverpool Hope University Gold NR 2017
Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts Gold NR 2017
Loughborough University Gold 301-350 2017
Newcastle University Gold =175 2017
University of Northampton Gold NR 2017
Norwich University of the Arts Gold NR 2017
University of Nottingham Gold =147 2017
Nottingham Trent University Gold 601-800 2017
University of Oxford Gold 1 2017
University of Portsmouth Gold 501-600 2017
Robert Gordon University Gold 801-1000 2017
Rose Bruford College Gold NR 2017
Royal Academy of Music Gold NR 2018
Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, University of London Gold NR 2017
Royal College of Music Gold NR 2017
Royal Northern College of Music Gold NR 2017
Royal Veterinary College Gold 351-400 2017
University of St Andrews Gold =143 2017
University of Surrey Gold 251-300 2017
Swansea University Gold 251-300 2018
University of the West of England Gold 601-800 2018
University of York Gold =137 2018
Abertay University Silver NR 2017
Anglia Ruskin University Silver 301-350 2017
AECC University College Silver NR 2017
University of the Arts London Silver NR 2017
Bath Spa University Silver NR 2017
University of Bedfordshire Silver 601-800 2017
Birkbeck, University of London Silver 301-350 2017
Birmingham City University Silver NR 2017
University of Bolton Silver NR 2017
Bournemouth University Silver 601-800 2017
University of Bradford Silver 601-800 2017
University of Brighton Silver 601-800 2017
University of Bristol Silver 76 2017
Brunel University London Silver 351-400 2017
Bucks New University Silver NR 2018
Canterbury Christ Church University Silver NR 2017
Cardiff Metropolitan University Silver NR 2017
Cardiff University Silver =162 2017
University of Central Lancashire Silver 601-800 2017
University of Chester Silver NR 2017
University of Chichester Silver NR 2017
City, University of London Silver 351-400 2017
Courtauld Institute of Art Silver NR 2017
University of Gloucestershire Silver NR 2017
University of Greenwich Silver 601-800 2017
Heriot-Watt University Silver 351-400 2017
University of Hull Silver 401-500 2018
King’s College London Silver 36 2017
Leeds Beckett University Silver 601-800 2017
Leeds College of Art Silver NR 2017
Leeds Trinity University Silver NR 2017
University of Leicester Silver =159 2017
University of Liverpool Silver =177 2018
Liverpool John Moores University Silver 501-600 2017
London South Bank University Silver 801-1000 2017
University of Manchester Silver =54 2017
Manchester Metropolitan University Silver 601-800 2017
Middlesex University Silver 401-500 2017
Newman  University Silver NR 2017
Northumbria University Silver 501-600 2017
Oxford Brookes University Silver 401-500 2017
University of Plymouth Silver 401-500 2018
Queen Mary University of London Silver 121 2017
Ravensbourne Silver NR 2017
University of Reading Silver 201-250 2017
Royal Agricultural University Silver NR 2017
Royal Holloway, University of London Silver 197 2017
University of Sheffield Silver 104 2017
Sheffield Hallam University Silver 801-1000 2017
Soas, University of London Silver 401-500 2018
University of Southampton Silver =126 2018
Solent University Silver NR 2018
University of St Mark and St John Silver NR 2017
St Mary’s University, Twickenham Silver NR 2017
Staffordshire University Silver NR 2017
University of Sunderland Silver NR 2017
University of Sussex Silver =147 2017
Teesside University Silver 601-800 2017
Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance Silver NR 2018
University College Birmingham Silver NR 2017
UCL Silver 16 2017
University for the Creative Arts Silver NR 2017
University College of Osteopathy Silver NR 2018
University of Warwick Silver 91 2018
University of West London Silver NR 2017
University of Winchester Silver NR 2017
University of Wolverhampton Silver NR 2018
University of Worcester Silver NR 2017
Wrexham Glyndŵr University Silver NR 2017
University of Cumbria Bronze NR 2017
University of East London Bronze 601-800 2017
Goldsmiths, University of London Bronze 301-350 2017
Kingston University Bronze 601-800 2017
London Metropolitan University Bronze 601-800 2017
London School of Business Bronze NR 2018
London School of Economics and Political Science Bronze =25 2017
Plymouth College of Art Bronze NR 2018
University of Roehampton Bronze 601-800 2017
University of Salford Bronze 601-800 2018
St George’s, University of London Bronze 201-250 2017
University of Suffolk Bronze NR 2017
University of Wales Trinity Saint David Bronze NR 2018
University of Westminster Bronze 601-800 2017
Writtle University College Bronze NR 2017
York St John University Bronze NR 2017

Read more: Teaching excellence framework (TEF) 2018: results announced


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