Value-added as a performance indicator of teaching in higher education in the UK
This research explores the issue of the development of a value-added performance indicator of teaching in higher education in the UK. The empirical work of this research is based on the data on university student entry qualifications and degree results from two new universities and the interviews with 18 members of academic staff from a new university. This research contains two main parts both aimed at the question of the feasibility of constructing and using value-added as a performance indicator. The first part of this research developed a method of calculating value-added in higher education in the UK, and this method was used to measure value-added at the two institutions at course, school/departmental, and institutional (cohort) level. This was intended to discover the feasibility of developing a method to quantify the relationship between entry qualifications and degree results. The second part of the study used the value-added results obtained from the first part of the study to interview (semi-structured interview) academic staff to investigate their views on whether these value-added results can be used to indicate quality of teaching. In this case the question addressed was the perceived utility of the measure and its acceptability. The first part of the study found that the method of calculating value-added developed can be used to identify variations in value-added at course (course with large number of students), school/departmental, and institutional (cohort) level, and this method has advantages over the main existing value-added measurements, Index methods and the Comparative method. The second part of the study suggested that academics found it acceptable if the value-added results were used to identify problems, nevertheless, they argued that the value-added results can not directly indicate quality of teaching. The difficulties with directly using value-added results to indicate quality of teaching are summarised into the following aspects: the concept of value-added, comparability, factors which have impact on student academic achievements, factors which have impact on how accurately degree results can reflect students' true achievements. It is concluded that the method of calculating value-added developed in this research can be used to identify problems in higher education in the UK, but it can not be used directly to indicate quality of teaching. The findings of this research imply that a value-added performance indicator would derive its significance from the link between value-added results and specific processes of teaching and learning.