Top universities slip down rankings under new student-focused system.

The Telegraph reports that some of Britain’s top universities have slid to the bottom of the pile under new official rankings which place greater weight on student satisfaction. 

Under the new system universities are rated gold, silver or bronze based on measures including student experience, employment after university and dropout rate. 

More than half of the Russell Group institutions that entered also missed out on the top rating, including Queen Mary University of London, which received a silver award, and Liverpool University, which received bronze status. Liverpool said it was “disappointed” with its award.

The Teaching Excellence Framework was introduced by universities minister Jo Johnson in 2015 amid Government concerns that universities were too focused on research at the expense of teaching. This is the first year that results have been published.

Sir Anthony Seldon, vice-chancellor of the University of Buckingham, told the Telegraph that he thought the new ratings would be “the biggest single catalyst to good teaching that the university sector has ever had”.  The university said it had come top in the country after receiving the highest possible award in all six categories. The private university, which receives no state funding, has just 2,000 students. 

But the rankings have been controversial among other university leaders, who have complained that they are not an accurate measure of teaching standards and place too much weight on student opinion, including the National Student Survey. 

Madeleine Atkins, chief executive of the Higher Education Funding Council for England, which published the results, said: “Students currently invest significant amounts of time, and indeed money and incurring debt in their higher education. “They are quite right to expect a high quality academic experience.”

Read more Top universities slip down rankings under new student-focused system.

Do you think these new ratings could damage a University’s ranking? Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via twitter ~ Tamsin

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