Letter: College excellence assessed first-hand

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The Independent Online
Sir: The article ('Flaws found in assessment of universities', 18 March) on the review of the Higher Education Funding Council for England's assessment of the quality of education misrepresents the present arrangements. It is untrue to say that a university can be assessed as excellent, if it can substantiate the claim on paper. Such a judgement can only be made after a three-day visit.

It is important to understand that quality assessment does not relate only to teaching, but includes all aspects of students' learning experience. Assessors during their visits meet representative groups of students. Institutions are encouraged to include the views of students about their courses in the self-assessments that they are all required to complete.

Yours faithfully,



Quality Assessment Division

Higher Education Funding

Council for England