Colleges 'overrate' courses;FE Focus

19th June 1998 at 01:00
COLLEGES believe that the quality and standards of their basic education courses are better than inspectors have found, according to Jim Donaldson, chief inspector of the Further Education Funding Council.

Basic education, including numeracy, literacy and English for speakers of other languages, is the sixth-largest FEFC programme. Mr Donaldson told a Basic Skills Agency conference in London: "When considering the grades colleges have awarded themselves, it is evident that colleges rate this work more highly than do inspectors. Just under half of all colleges inspected in 1997-98 have overstated the strengths of this work in their self-assessment."

"A key message from self-assessment is that you consider quality and standards are better and that this is at variance with the evidence gathered by inspectors," he said. "The idea is not to think of the inspectorate as a kind of police force and to fight the inspectorate, but to ask, 'how can I make constructive use of inspectorate evidence to make things better?'."

Mr Donaldson said data on student achievement was at the heart of quality improvement. It was used by the inspectorate to support judgments in college self-assessment reports.

He said there were significant deficiencies in information management - students' achievements and destinations were rarely reported effectively at programme or college level.

Ngaio Crequer.

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today