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Grade trouble

ASTRAGAL

Feathers have been distinctly ruffled in the dovecote of architectural academe following the latest Research Assessment Exercise, the fouryearly review which determines levels of funding the schools will enjoy in future years.The lowest rating that can be awarded is a 1, the highest a 5. You can get 5* if all the work is of international quality.

There are further categories of award. If the rating is accompanied by an 'A', it means all eligible staff are 'research active'. A 'B'means that only a proportion is regarded thus. Those traditional bastions of excellence, Cambridge and the Bartlett, previously in the highest category, have plunged to a 4.

Were there any beneficiaries? Yes indeed. Top of the list was the Welsh School of Architecture, with a 5A; other good performers were Sheffield and Bath, with 5B each.

Needless to say, the academic world being what it is, the hunt is now on to establish the links between those who made the assessments and their mates in the schools that did well. There is, of course, no external academic assessment of whether staff in the schools are any good at teaching people to be architects.

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