Teaching at new universities fails to make the grade

FRAN ABRAMS

Education Correspondent

Students receive a much higher standard of teaching in traditional universities than they do in the former polytechnics, according to an official report leaked to the Independent.

The revelation has brought calls for more money from the new universities, which say they cannot compete because they do not receive as much research funding as the older institutions.

Eight out of ten departments graded "excellent" under an inspection system introduced in 1993 were in old universities, the report says, and only two out of ten were in former polytechnics.

Subjects popular in the new universities were also less likely to do well. Only 10 per cent of computer science departments were rated "excellent," compared with almost 80 per cent of anthropology departments. Nationally, more than a quarter of departments were found to be excellent, but fewer than one-fifth reached that level in engineering, science and technology subjects.

The report analyses almost 1,000 assessments in 15 different subjects carried out between February 1993 and March 1995. It will be published next month in the annual report of the quality division of the Higher Education Funding Council for England, which oversees the peer reviews of university teaching quality.

Of a total of 976 departments assessed, three-quarters were satisfactory. Almost 80 gave cause for concern before the inspection visit, but only 12 received an "unsatisfactory" rating, just one of which was in an old university. In chemistry, computer science and history, only one department in the entire former polytechnic sector was found to be excellent.

Although the report says there is no proven connection between the results of these assessments and the funding, research achievements or size of a department, it does point to some strong links.

Only 6 per cent of departments that scored one on a five-point research status scale were graded excellent for teaching, suggesting that the new universities' claims to concentrate on good teaching rather than academic advances might be ill-founded. Six out of ten excellent gradings were found in the largest 40 per cent of departments.

Last night, new universities agreed that good teaching must be backed by good research, and they called for extra funding to help them improve their performance.

Professor Mike Brown, pro vice chancellor of De Montfort University, the former Leicester Polytechnic, said only one out of ten departments assessed there had gained an excellent rating.

"I don't think we can cry 'foul'. It is certainly true that the traditional universities have been resourced far better than the polytechnics and it will take many years to equalise," he said.

Education, Section Two

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: .NET Developer / Web Developer

£35-45K (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a .NET Developer / Web ...

Recruitment Genius: Commercial Manager - Plasma Processing

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Commercial Manager is required to join a lea...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Property Manager

£18000 - £19000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you looking for your first ...

Recruitment Genius: .NET Web / Software Developer - ASP.NET

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Small and agile digital marketi...

Day In a Page

Revealed: Why Mohammed Emwazi chose the 'safe option' of fighting for Isis, rather than following his friends to al-Shabaab in Somalia

Why Mohammed Emwazi chose Isis

His friends were betrayed and killed by al-Shabaab
'The solution can never be to impassively watch on while desperate people drown'
An open letter to David Cameron: Building fortress Europe has had deadly results

Open letter to David Cameron

Building the walls of fortress Europe has had deadly results
Tory candidates' tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they seem - you don't say!

You don't say!

Tory candidates' election tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they appear
Mubi: Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash

So what is Mubi?

Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash all the time
The impossible job: how to follow Kevin Spacey?

The hardest job in theatre?

How to follow Kevin Spacey
Armenian genocide: To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie

Armenian genocide and the 'good Turks'

To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie
Lou Reed: The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths

'Lou needed care, but what he got was ECT'

The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond
Migrant boat disaster: This human tragedy has been brewing for four years and EU states can't say they were not warned

This human tragedy has been brewing for years

EU states can't say they were not warned
Women's sportswear: From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help

Women's sportswear

From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help
Hillary Clinton's outfits will be as important as her policies in her presidential bid

Clinton's clothes

Like it or not, her outfits will be as important as her policies
NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders