TEF will include measures of library quality - Mon, 16 May 2016

The HE White Paper and associated Technical Consultation document have been published today and include a number of points to note for libraries:




All providers will have to supply the Office for Students (OfS) with data on graduate employment, progression and outcomes, retention and completion levels, recruitment levels, entry requirements, NSS results, complaints to the OIA and TEF scores.  These will be used as indicators to trigger “investigations” under the new quality regime . Detailed quality reviews will also be triggered by a provider seeking approved status or seeking degree awarding powers. The White Paper itself does not say anything very much about library provision in this context, but simply that a review will assess whether "facilities are appropriate and fit for purpose" and that "students wider learning needs are being met to equip them to progress and succeed beyond university" (pg 34)




Definitions of “teaching excellence” in the White Paper include reference to “learning environments” as well as to teaching and to learning outcomes. (pg 43). In the technical consultation document, this is spelt out in more detail: “The wider environment for learning will include the effectiveness of resources such as libraries, laboratories or design studios …” para 30. It also includes reference to the importance of “learning spaces” and “use of technology” in this context – para 28.  The table on page 15 is a useful summary – here is also makes clear that both physical and virtual resources are considered important, and that academic induction and use of learner analytics will be regarded as indicators or quality.


During the pilot year - Year 2, NSS measures under consideration will be (a) teaching on my course; (b) assessment and feedback and (c) academic support.  In other words, it will not include NSS results on learning resources which the paper states “are currently under review and, in their current form, the direct relationship to the aspects of quality within the TEF assessment framework appear weaker”. 


However, In addition to TEF status being judged on the basis of metrics (NSS scores; retention rates etc.), providers will be able to submit additional contextual information in a provider submission to argue for a good rating, including qualitative as well as quantitative data. This may provide an opportunity for information on library services to be included in TEF submissions – the document suggests that “quantitative information demonstrating proportional investment in teaching and learning infrastructure” might be included, for example.