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Graduate data highlights problems with the Teaching Excellence Framework, says UCU

13 June 2017

UCU today said newly published data showing graduate outcomes for 23 subjects by university reinforced its concerns about how data is being used to measure teaching quality under the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF).

UCU has raised concerns about the use of metrics, including graduate employment outcomes, as the basis of the imminent TEF. The union said today's Longitudinal Education Outcomes data reinforced its argument that graduates' future outcomes are not just a result of student experience but are heavily determined by pre-existing factors such as gender, social background and previous education. The data shows that for all subjects except English Studies, male median earnings exceed female median earnings at more than 50% of institutions offering that subject.

UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: 'Today's data reinforces the fact that graduate outcomes are clearly not just a result of their experiences while students but are heavily determined by pre-existing factors. Worryingly, the data shows that gender in particular has huge significance when it comes to students' future earnings. Social background and previous education also play a big part in future success. We remain extremely concerned about the use of flawed, proxy metrics as indicators of 'teaching quality' under the TEF. 

'And let's remember that all degree study has the potential to increase earnings but it also brings with it so much more than that - students gain many social and cultural benefits from going to university.'