The Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) 2023 results have been revealed. Our Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Education, Professor Madeline Eacott, talks us through our result and explains some of the changes to this year’s exercise. 

I am very pleased to announce that we achieved an overall award of Silver in this year’s TEF, also achieving Silver in both of the new aspect ratings, student experience and student outcomes. An award of silver indicates very high-quality provision, and so is an award we can rightly be pleased about. 

How has the TEF changed? 

Since the first TEF exercise in 2017 the process has changed dramatically which makes it impossible to compare the first exercise to this iteration.   

In TEF 2023 the judgement was based on a combination of some metrics (for continuation, completion, Graduate Outcomes, and some aspects of the National Student Survey 2018-2022) and written submissions from both the University and the Students’ Union. 

There are three ratings categories signifying increasing degrees of excellence,  Bronze, Silver and Gold as well as a fourth category, ‘Requires improvement’. 

  • Gold: The student experience and outcomes are typically outstanding.
  • Silver: The student experience and outcomes are typically very high quality, and there may be some outstanding features.
  • Bronze: The student experience and outcomes are typically high quality, and there are some very high-quality features.
  • Requires improvement: The provider was assessed in TEF and no rating was awarded. Improvement is required for a TEF rating. 

Are you pleased with the result?

I am pleased that our education has been judged as being of very high quality. Given that the period being judged was 2018-2022, including the pandemic when we had to pivot to online teaching to maintain learning outcomes while at the same time observing lock downs, self-isolation and social distancing rules, this is a good achievement. But of course we always aspire to enhance what we offer and to be outstanding next time. 

What did the judges say?  

The outcomes are accompanied by a written report which gives further information on the reasons for the panel’s judgement.  

The panel noted: 

“... numerous examples of very high-quality practices related to teaching, learning and assessment described in the provider submission are evidence of an embedded and effective approach” 

“course content and delivery effectively encourage the provider’s students to engage in their learning and stretch students to develop their knowledge and skills”  

“ (the provider) uses research in relevant disciplines, innovation, scholarship, professional practice and/or employer engagement to contribute to the student experience” 

“there is very high-quality support for staff professional development and excellent academic practice is promoted” 

“the provider clearly effectively supports its students to succeed in and progress beyond their studies”  

Overall, the panel concluded that “there was strong evidence of typically very high-quality features overall… The panel judged very high quality to apply to all the provider’s groups of students, including students from underrepresented groups.”  

I think this is something we can all be very proud of. 

Student feedback

The panel of judges also considered a submission provided by our Students’ Union. The SU conducted several surveys throughout the academic year and included student feedback as part of their submission. In total the results of 11 surveys, each completed by between 800 and 1,500 students were included in the submission. The SU gave feedback on a range of areas, from how the pandemic affected students and how they thought the university handled the move to online learning to course content and delivery, teaching quality and our physical and virtual learning resources.  

Our students wrote: 

“We are proud of the excellent working relationship that we have with the University and that there is a clear, shared commitment to listening and working with students to continually improve all aspects of the Essex experience. 

I want to thank everyone that was involved in putting together our submission, including our SU. Work will now be done to ensure we are making the changes and improvements we need to.   

Thank you.