Top Notch UK Universities Slip in Rankings

Oxford University

The BBC recently announced the latest rankings of the best universities in the world, and some of the UK’s top established institutions have slipped down the list.

The universities that fell out of the top 200 of the Times Higher Education (THE) World Rankings for 2014-15 were: Reading, Dundee and Newcastle. Five other universities including Heriot-Watt, Keele, Liverpool John Moores University, Loughborough and the University of Surrey have fallen out of the top 400. Oxford, Cambridge and Imperial College London remain in the top 10.

The university holding the title as number one in the THE World Rankings for the fourth year in a row is the California Institute of Technology in the United States. Harvard University was placed second ahead of the University of Oxford.

The Times Higher Education World Rankings are based on the following 13 measures with their unique weights:

  • Teaching: the learning environment (30%)
  • Research: volume, income and reputation (30%)
  • Citations: research influence (30%)
  • Industry income: innovation (2.5%)
  • International outlook: staff, students and research (7.5%)

More on the Times Higher Education World University Rankings and the 2013-2014 Results


The Concern

Although London has the greatest concentration of first-class universities, with four in the top 40 (more than any other city in the world), and seven in the top 200, the UK’s overall representation among the world’s leading universities is declining. Three leading names fell out of the top 200 this year, and two others hold 198th and 199th place.

Phil Baty, editor of THE World University Rankings, commented: “Five UK universities lost their top 400 places. This loss of power and influence is not good for the UK’s overall competitiveness in the global knowledge economy.”

The Learning Environment

A crucial element to the rankings is the learning environment (30%). There is a range of factors affecting the learning environment of any school or university classroom. As an example, classroom size and student performance are negatively related, the reasons for this being that larger classrooms don’t necessary allow the inclusion of every student in the classroom. Students who aren’t actively engaged in the classroom will fall behind in work and may become bored and disrupt their peers during lessons.

Don’t hesitate to request a health check from a qualified sound specialist such as Sound For Schools to measure whether your classroom meets modern classroom acoustic standards. Sound For Schools will be able to provide your institution with detailed information and advice needed to adapt your classroom to improve the learning environment for your students. Alternatively, refer to the government’s guidelines for acoustic regulations on sound in education to identify where problem areas lie.

Perhaps it’s not the physical environment that’s in question, but rather the format of lessons that causes students to become uninvolved and their performance to drop. Sound For Schools was recently commended for JUNO, our top selling voice optimised classroom audio system with lesson capture and audio visual features.

By using tools such as JUNO, teachers are empowered to make lessons more captivating and are able to engage with a larger group of students with less strain. JUNO is the solution to those wanting to move their classes into the modern era with maximum benefit, minimum disruption and sensible cost.

More information on JUNO 


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