With stories that schools are ‘sending difficult students out before Ofsted inspections‘, there are suggestions that Universities are also massaging their expertise – and a call that all should be included in the REF:
“The European Union economy doesn’t look too bad – if you exclude Greece and perhaps a couple of others from the 27.” “Spurs are a decent team, if you don’t count those games in which goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes gifted points to the opposition.” “2011 was an excellent financial year for our unit trust, if you discount the poor performance of one or two of the companies in which we invest.”
Yet we don’t rate the EU by choosing which economies to include or exclude, nor does the team that wins the Barclays Premier League get to miss out its worst performances before the final ranking. And investors would be living in cloud cuckoo land if they thought they could ignore a unit trust’s poorly performing components. We do, however, allow something similar to happen when assessing research in British universities. Why?
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