Leeds and Huddersfield achieved the highest award in the first major assessment of teaching standards, with both universities saying it would help to strengthen their reputation.
However, 25 other institutions in the region did not score a gold rating, with 16, including Leeds Beckett, Leeds Trinity, York, Sheffield and Bradford, awarded silver.
While nine – all colleges apart from York St John University – have been rated bronze.
Vice chancellor at York St John, Professor Karen Stanton, said it recognised several of the university’s strengths, adding: “We take any feedback seriously and always look to learn from it to create the best possible student experience and keep building on our growing popularity.”
Nationally it emerged that more than half of Russell Group institutions – the best in the country – that entered the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF), were not given the highest grade.
The group said it does not believe the TEF measures “absolute quality” and that would-be students need clear guidance about what the results mean and how they should be used.
The TEF was introduced by the last Government to gain more evidence about teaching and learning in UK universities, with proposals to link quality to tuition fee increases. Universities which choose to enter are assessed on a range of measures, including student satisfaction, drop-out rates and whether students go on to employment or further study after graduating.
Differences between institutions, such as entry qualifications and subjects studied, were taken into account by an independent panel which made the final awards.
Overall, 295 universities, colleges and alternative education providers took part, with 59 institutions gaining a gold award, 116 rated silver and 56 achieving bronze. These figures exclude institutions that received a provisional award because there was not enough data for a full assessment.
And an analysis shows that among the 21 Russell Group universities that took part, eight were given a gold rating, 10 were awarded silver and three got a bronze.
The acting director of the Russell Group of premier universities Dr Tim Bradshaw said: “This is a trial year. We need to recognise that developing a robust TEF that is truly reflective of the UK’s excellent higher education sector will take time.”
Sir Alan Langlands, vice-chancellor of the University of Leeds, said the gold award strengthened the university’s “excellent reputation” in student education.
Vice-chancellor of the University of Huddersfield, Professor Bob Cryan, added: “It shows that our strategy to provide top-class teaching, facilities and student support has come to fruition.”