In November 2008, HEFCE formed the Teaching, Quality, and the Student Experience (TQSE) sub-committee to investigate concerns raised over the quality of English higher education (HE). The recently published report sets out the sub-committee’s recommendations.
Set within a framework that defined factors such as HEFCE’s statutory responsibility, The Quality Assurance Framework and the link between quality assurance and quality enhancement, particular areas of investigation included: the relationships between quality and standards, admissions procedures, degree classifications, plagiarism, assessment and feedback, and the institutional audit method.
The TQSE does not consider there to be a systemic failure in quality in English HE. However, challenges to quality and standards are serious issues and the sector cannot be complacent. The Quality Assurance Framework needs revising, to provide HEFCE with continued reassurance that its statutory duty is being fulfilled, and to respond more flexibly to sector trends. The way in which external examiners are used needs reviewing to ensure that the system contributes effectively to maintaining public confidence in quality and standards. The greatest need, however, is for more accessible public information about quality and standards, and about the wider student experience. This will be a challenge for HEFCE and for institutions, but will put the sector on a firmer footing to meet future challenges and show more transparency in how it is accountable.
Full report (PDF format): http://www.hefce.ac.uk/pubs/hefce/2009/09_40/09_40.pdf
HEFCE response (PDF format): http://www.hefce.ac.uk/pubs/hefce/2009/09_40/09_40res.pdf