Skip to content
The UK's only independent think tank devoted to higher education.

HEPI publishes the OECD’s thoughts on teaching excellence, the TEF and learning gain

  • 28 January 2016

On Thursday, 28th January 2016, the Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI) will publish a revised version of the most recent HEPI annual lecture, Value-Added: How do you measure whether universities are delivering for their students?

It was originally delivered by Andreas Schleicher, Director of Education at the OECD, in December 2015 at an event in central London which was kindly sponsored by two HEPI Partners, Pearson and Wiley.

Andreas Schleicher said:

‘There is no shortcut to measuring the quality of higher education that bypasses student learning outcomes. Some proxies may correlate, but at the end of the day it is for learning gains that we go to university.

‘We are now able to measure learning outcomes in appropriate, valid and reliable ways and better than ever before. So making the extra effort now will be worth it.

‘Of course, the politics are tough. When we look in the mirror, we may not appear as beautiful as we believed, or as beautiful as others have told us we are. Some of the biggest opposition to assessing learning outcomes stems from countries and institutions that have most to lose if their outcomes are not as good as their reputation suggests. They have loud voices, but it just goes to show we should all be trying harder.’

Nick Hillman, HEPI’s Director, said:

‘The Westminster Government is currently groping towards a new Teaching Excellence Framework, which will assess the quality of teaching and learning in higher education institutions. That is a big task, fraught with difficulties. If it is to work, we need to call upon expertise from around the world.

‘HEPI is honoured to publish the thoughts of Andreas Schleicher, who has led the debate on school efficacy across the world, via initiatives like PISA, and is now applying that wisdom to learning in higher education.

‘The next really big global debate on higher education will cover the role universities should play in the twenty-first century and the knowledge and skills they should impart to their students. This important publication calls for an international effort to start measuring learning outcomes directly in place of the various proxies currently under discussion. The lessons for the Teaching Excellence Framework are hard to ignore.’

Notes for Editors

  1. The 12th HEPI Annual Lecture took place in December 2015 at One Great George Street. It was delivered by Andreas Schleicher, who is the Director for Education and Skills and Special Advisor on Education Policy to the Secretary-General at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in Paris. The version being published is a revised version of the original Lecture, which was kindly sponsored by Pearson and Wiley.
  1. The slides that accompanied the Lecture can be accessed via the HEPI website at

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *