TEF Rating – A Guide To The Teaching Excellence Framework

TEF, or Teaching Excellence Framework (or Teaching Excellence and Student Outcomes Framework) is a rating system used in the United Kingdom to assess and benchmark the quality of teaching at higher education institutions. The TEF rating helps students and stakeholders make informed decisions about universities and colleges. Here is our complete guide to understanding TEF ratings.

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Table of Contents

What Is The TEF?

The Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) was introduced by the UK government in 2017 as part of their efforts to ensure the high quality of higher education in the country. It represents a significant departure from traditional university rankings, which often focus on research output and reputation. Instead, TEF focuses exclusively on teaching quality and the overall educational experience provided to students.

How Does The TEF Work?

The Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) stands out for its unique approach to evaluation. Instead of relying solely on conventional academic criteria such as research output and reputation, TEF employs a diverse set of metrics and qualitative assessments. These encompass elements like student satisfaction, graduate employment outcomes, and the quality of the learning environment. This multifaceted methodology ensures a comprehensive evaluation of an institution’s teaching quality.

TEF assessments are carried out by an independent panel comprising experts and stakeholders from the higher education sector. The results are categorised into three distinct levels: Gold, Silver, Bronze, and Requires Improvement, with Gold signifying the highest level of teaching excellence. This tiered classification system offers students a clear and informative perspective on the educational quality offered by various institutions.

The Teaching Excellence Framework holds a crucial role in the UK’s commitment to maintaining and elevating higher education standards. It not only empowers students to make well-informed decisions but also encourages institutions to continually pursue excellence in their teaching and learning practices.

What Are The TEF Rating Levels?

The TEF ratings are categorised into three levels, each indicating a different degree of teaching quality:

  • Gold: Institutions awarded the Gold rating are recognised for their outstanding teaching quality. They consistently deliver high-quality education and provide excellent support to their students.
  • Silver: Institutions that receive the Silver rating are acknowledged for their good teaching quality. While they excel in many areas, there may be some room for improvement in specific aspects of their teaching and learning environment.
  • Bronze: The Bronze rating is given to institutions with teaching quality that requires improvement. These institutions may have certain challenges to overcome to provide a better educational experience.
  • Requires improvement: The provider was assessed in TEF and no rating was awarded. Improvement is required for a TEF rating.

TEF Assessment Criteria

TEF ratings are determined based on three fundamental criteria:

  1. Teaching Quality: This criterion evaluates the effectiveness of teaching methods, the quality of assessment, and the overall learning experience provided to students. It considers factors such as class sizes, student-teacher ratios, and feedback mechanisms.
  2. Learning Environment: This aspect focuses on the resources and support available to students. It assesses factors like library facilities, IT infrastructure, and the accessibility of academic support services.
  3. Student Outcomes: The success and satisfaction of students are key indicators. Metrics such as graduate employment rates, student satisfaction surveys, and retention rates are used to gauge this criterion.

TEF Data Sources

Universities and colleges applying for TEF ratings must provide a comprehensive set of evidence to support their application. This evidence includes data from national student surveys, data on graduate employment and further study, and institutional submissions outlining their teaching strategies and practices. A panel of experts, including academics and students, reviews this evidence and assesses whether the institution meets the criteria for each TEF level.

Should I Choose A University Based On TEF Ratings?

TEF ratings are a valuable resource for prospective students when choosing where to study. Higher-rated institutions are likely to offer a better overall educational experience, including high-quality teaching and a supportive learning environment.

When considering higher education options, it’s crucial to weigh TEF ratings alongside other factors. These may include the specific course content, location, personal preferences, and career aspirations.

TEF Gold Rating University List (2024)

Here are the list of UK universities awarded gold rating in 2024.

Anglia Ruskin UniversityGold
Aston UniversityGold
City, University of LondonGold
Coventry UniversityGold
Guildhall School of Music and DramaGold
Harper Adams UniversityGold
Hartpury UniversityGold
Imperial College LondonGold
Keele UniversityGold
King’s College LondonGold
Kingston UniversityGold
Lancaster UniversityGold
Liverpool John Moores UniversityGold
London School of Economics and Political ScienceGold
Loughborough UniversityGold
Norwich University of the ArtsGold
Plymouth Marjon UniversityGold
Royal Academy of MusicGold
Royal College of MusicGold
Royal Northern College of MusicGold
Royal Veterinary CollegeGold
Sheffield Hallam UniversityGold
Solent University, SouthamptonGold
Teesside UniversityGold
The Open UniversityGold
University of BathGold
University of BirminghamGold
University of BristolGold
University of CambridgeGold
University of ExeterGold
University of HuddersfieldGold
University of LiverpoolGold
University of ManchesterGold
University of NottinghamGold
University of OxfordGold
University of PlymouthGold
University of WarwickGold
University of YorkGold

University TEF Rating List

Here you can find the complete list of UK universities awarded TEF ratings for 2024.


In summary, the TEF ratings offer valuable insights into the quality of teaching at higher education institutions in the UK. They are designed to help prospective students and stakeholders make informed choices when selecting a university or college for their academic journey. TEF is not a static system. It may undergo changes in its criteria or methodology over time to adapt to evolving educational landscapes and student needs. It’s essential to stay informed about any updates if you intend to use TEF ratings in your decision-making process.

Official Links

Learn more about TEF at: Office For Students

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