The Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF): Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?
The UK government’s Green Paper, ‘Fulfilling Our Potential: Teaching Excellence, Social Mobility and Student Choice’, presents both significant challenges and opportunities for universities. Whilst the quantitative element of the proposed Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF), underpinned by Big Data, offers the tantalizing opportunity to measure, collate and compare data efficiently between all universities, it also presents a number of significant risks in the form of institutional decision-making, the skewing of behaviours, and potential homogenisation of provision across the sector. As such, this paper asserts that it is vital that the qualitative element of the TEF is implemented diligently and effectively so as to encourage universities to develop clear internal and external narratives that clearly outline the importance of education to their respective institutional missions. Whilst Big Data may prove informative, it requires context in order to be truly useful. Therefore, the task ahead for both the government and universities is far from straightforward.