Mixed market messages: the cost of reforming British universities

Mixed market messages: the cost of reforming British universities

Jonathan Grant, King’s College London

One thing is clear about the government’s recent proposals to reform higher education: they will shape and sculpt the UK’s higher education system for the foreseeable future – but at what cost?

In its Fulfilling our Potential green paper, published in November, the government set out how it wants to both control the price of higher education, through tuition fees, and determine the quality of teaching through a proposed Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF), which plans to reward universities with the best quality teaching. The overall objective is to improve the quality of teaching in universities, as well as the esteem associated with teaching, and enhance social mobility. Continue reading

The risks of risk-based approaches: predicting higher education quality with metrics

Flickr - Biking Nikon SFO

Flickr – Biking Nikon SFO

Like many policy areas in recent times, the quality assurance of higher education has faced calls for it to be more ‘risk based’ and make greater use of metrics to predict how Higher Education (HE) providers may perform in the future. The attraction of a risk-based approach is clear: HE providers perceived as low risk by the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) are freed from the burden of regulation and allowed to flourish whilst it focuses on ensuring quality in those HE providers it perceives as high risk. But is this currently feasible? In this blog post, Alex Griffiths describes how new research is uncovering the risks of a risk-based approach. Continue reading