TEF Gold explained

Students using computers in Edge Hill Unviersity's library, housed in the Catalyst buildingYou can find more information about the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) on this page, including who measures TEF and the key measurements.

What does TEF measure?

The Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) was introduced by the Government to build evidence about the performance of the UK’s world-class higher education sector. It complements the existing Research Excellence Framework with an analysis of teaching and learning outcomes.

The TEF assesses excellence in teaching in universities and colleges, examining how well they ensure excellent outcomes for their students. This could be in graduate employability or further study.

What are the TEF key measurements?

The TEF measures teaching excellence in three key areas:

Teaching quality: teaching that stimulates and challenges students, and maximises their engagement with their studies.

Learning environment: effectiveness of resources and activities. This includes libraries, laboratories and work experience which support learning and improve retention, progression and attainment.

Student outcomes: extent to which all students achieve their educational and professional goals, in particular those from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Who decides the TEF ratings?

The TEF process is managed by the Office for Students, and ratings are judged by an independent panel of students, academics and other experts.

How does the panel reach its decision?

The assessment uses official data combined with a detailed statement from each university or college to arrive at the final rating.

The data includes how many students continue their course from one year to the next, graduate-level employment outcomes, and students’ views about their experience gathered in the annual National Student Survey.

The TEF data takes into account the entry qualifications and characteristics of students, and the subjects studied, at each university or college. These can be very different and the assessment is based on what each university achieves for its particular students.

Why is it important?

By assessing excellence in teaching at universities, the TEF encourages excellent teaching and outcomes for students.

The TEF provides information about the quality, environment and outcomes of teaching at a wide range of universities and colleges.

You can read the results on the UCAS, Unistats and Office for Students websites.

Prospective students can use the ratings – alongside other sources of information, advice and guidance – to decide where to apply to study.

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