RAPPORT, Volume 2, Issue 1 RAPPORT Issue 1 version4FINALSO - Page 7

RAPPORT WWW.RECORDINGACHIEVEMENT.AC.UK Issue 1 (2017) The International Journal for Recording Achievement, Planning and Portfolios The potential role of ePortfolios in the Teaching Excellence Framework Alfredo Gaitán and Diana Pritchard, University of Bedfordshire Current debates on HE policy in the UK are dominated by the evolving Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) which will soon involve the government establishing key metrics. In this context, and seizing this valuable moment in policy formation, we here provide a brief foray into the multiple aspects of ‘teaching excellence’ (TE) as a basis to highlight both the complexity of identifying ways to measure it and the shortcomings of existing official developments. In the absence of a clear conceptual understanding of the learning processes and the role of teaching underpinning the TEF, we present a model of the learning process to which the indicators currently proposed by the authorities can be related. We propose that ePortfolios can play a special role in the TEF in capturing the qualitative outcomes of learning processes which, importantly, reflect the student perspective in terms of goals, learning experiences and achievement. These are both crucial yet missing elements of the proposals to date. Finally, we provide some examples of how information from ePortfolios could be used by HE institutions to enhance their institutional submissions to the TEF. The policy context of the TEF. In September 2015, Jo Johnson, the Minister for Universities and Science, announced the government’s plans to introduce changes in the higher education (HE) system ‘to ensure that higher education continues to be a great national success story in the years to come’ (Johnson, 2015). This made clear that widening participation in HE, as a means of achieving greater social mobility, is just as important as opening the HE system to competition so that new ‘providers’ can compete with existing universities. These changes relate to earlier attempts in 2011 (Department of Business, Innovation and Skills [BIS], 2011a and 2011b) which included a wide set of actions aimed at addressing the finances of HE, improving the quality of information available to students about the courses on offer and ‘removing barriers to entry to the higher education sector’. In the mist of these apparently diverse aims, the minister also emphasised the importance of maintaining ‘great teaching, combined with rigorous assessment, useful feedback and preparation for the world of work’. He described the creation of the ‘Teaching Excellence Framework’ (TEF) as the means of recognising and rewarding teaching that ‘has been allowed to become something of a poor cousin to research in parts of o