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Pilot projects

We are supporting 13 collaborative institutional projects to test and evaluate different ways of measuring learning gain. Over 70 universities and colleges, reflecting student and sector diversity, are involved.

Findings from the projects will emerge year-on-year, and an external researcher will share these outcomes across the projects.

The projects combine two different approaches: cross-sectional (comparing students in different cohorts at the same time) and longitudinal (analysing progress over time).

Each project has an evaluation strand built within it and we have also appointed an external researcher, Camille Kandiko-Howson from King’s College London, to cross-fertilise approaches, evaluate outputs and outcomes, and to draw out collective findings.  

Please find below an outline of each of the 13 pilot projects, listed by the lead institution.

The Careers Group (University of London)

This project will evaluate data on careers registration. It will examine whether the data can be used to assess different employability initiatives within institutions. In particular it will consider whether this data can assess how far students are ready for work, predict their future area of employment, and other relevant outcomes.  

Partners: University College London, School of Oriental and African Studies, Goldsmiths, King’s College London, Queen Mary, University of London, St George’s, Royal Veterinary College, St Mary’s University, Liverpool John Moores University, Lancaster University, University of Exeter, University of Bristol

Learn more about The Careers Group's project

Project methodologies
Grades  
Surveys x
Standardised test  
Other qualitative methods   
Mixed methods  
Back to top

Centre for Enhancement of Learning and Teaching – Birmingham City University 

This project will employ the critical-thinking 'CLA+' standardised assessment tool with 250 students at each of the four universities for three years. It will also use the UK Engagement Survey (UKES) with the same student groups across the same timeline.   

Partners: Liverpool John Moores University, Coventry University, Staffordshire University 

Project methodologies
Grades  
Surveys x
Standardised test x
Other qualitative methods  x
Mixed methods x
Back to top

University of East Anglia

The project will experiment with, and evaluate, three approaches to measuring learning gain among cohorts of students across five disciplines in two institutions. It will assess the institutional factors that may help and hinder the adoption of each approach.

Partners: City College Norwich

Learn more about the University of East Anglia's project

Project methodologies
Grades x 
Surveys x
Standardised test  
Other qualitative methods  x 
Mixed methods x 
Back to top

University of East London

By using a number of methodological approaches, this project will analyse students’ skills development. It will include academic skills tests, and self-assessment of confidence measures with reference to academic study and career development.

Partners: Brunel University London, University of Roehampton

Learn more about the University of East London's project

Project methodologies
Grades  
Surveys x
Standardised test x 
Other qualitative methods   
Mixed methods x 
Back to top

University of Lincoln

This longitudinal study will follow students from different subjects throughout their undergraduate studies. It will include a self–assessment skills audit, and a situational judgement test.

Partners: University of Huddersfield

Project methodologies
Grades x 
Surveys  
Standardised test x 
Other qualitative methods  x 
Mixed methods x 
Back to top

The Manchester College

This project will use a range of methodologies to track students at individual colleges through the lifetime of their area of study. It will test and develop measures to demonstrate the value that HE in FE can provide for students.

Partners: The Blackpool and Fylde College, Bradford College, City College Norwich, Doncaster College, Gloucester College, Grimsby Institute of Further and Higher Education, Hull College, Leeds City College, New College Durham, Rotherham College, Tameside College, South Devon College, Wakefield College, West Herts College, York College

Project methodologies
Grades x 
Surveys x
Standardised test  
Other qualitative methods   
Mixed methods x 
Back to top

University of Manchester

This project will investigate ways of:

  • standardising entry and exit qualifications in (and out of) HE
  • designing and validating new measures of dispositions and critical skills
  • modelling change in learning outcomes, for robust measurement of the ‘distance travelled’.

Partners: N/A

Project methodologies
Grades x 
Surveys x 
Standardised test x 
Other qualitative methods  x 
Mixed methods x 
Back to top

The Open University

This project will carry out secondary data analysis of existing Affective-Behaviour-Cognition (ABC) model data for previous academic years. It will then carry out a mixed-method study of new ABC data for the academic years 2015 to 2017, including interviews with participants as well as work on learner analytics.

Partners: Oxford Brookes University, University of Surrey

Project methodologies
Grades x
Surveys x
Standardised test  
Other qualitative methods  x
Mixed methods x
Back to top

Plymouth University

This project will analyse the measurement of student research skills as an aspect of HE skills development in six academic disciplines, and student achievement data.   

Partners: City College Plymouth, Bridgwater College, Cornwall College, Petroc, Strode College, South Devon College

Project methodologies
Grades x 
Surveys x 
Standardised test  
Other qualitative methods  x 
Mixed methods x 
Back to top

University of Portsmouth

This project will develop psychometric tests of learning gain. It will focus on non-cognitive elements, such as resilience and employability identity. The project will also explore ways to develop learning gain and the relationship with early preferences for learning, demographics, faculty input, student engagement, UCAS points and degree outcomes. 

Partners: University of Southampton, Royal Holloway, Roehampton University

Learn more about the University of Portsmouth's project

Project methodologies
Grades x 
Surveys x 
Standardised test x 
Other qualitative methods  x 
Mixed methods x 
Back to top

Ravensbourne

This project will measure the learning gain from work placements and work-based learning, as part of a course of study.   

Partners: Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, Southampton Solent University, Rose Bruford College, Falmouth University, Norwich University of the Arts, Arts University, Bournemouth

Project methodologies
Grades x
Surveys x
Standardised test  
Other qualitative methods  x
Mixed methods x
Back to top

University of Reading

By testing and evaluating a range of available methodologies, this project will draw conclusions on what might be the right combination of instruments for the measurement of learning gain. These measure include degree classification outcomes, UKES, NSS, Student Wellbeing Survey and CLA+. 

Partners: N/A

Project methodologies
Grades x 
Surveys x 
Standardised test x 
Other qualitative methods   
Mixed methods x 
Back to top

University of Warwick

This project comprises four work packages, one in curriculum areas and three related to employability. They will use a range of methods, including longitudinal and cross-sectional approaches, to test and develop tools to effectively measure student learning gain.

Partners: University College London, University of Birmingham, University of Bristol, University of Cambridge, University of Durham, University of Exeter, University of Leeds, University of Liverpool, University of Manchester, University of Nottingham, University of Southampton, University of Sheffield, University of York, Imperial College London, King’s College London, Newcastle University, Queen Mary University of London

Learn more about the University of Warwick's project

Project methodologies
Grades x 
Surveys x 
Standardised test x 
Other qualitative methods  x 
Mixed methods x 
Back to top

Page last updated 16 May 2017