A substantial programme of research and consultation informed proposals for the Key Information Set (KIS) and the new Unistats website.
Report on understanding the information needs of users of public information about higher education
In 2010 Oakleigh Consulting and Staffordshire University carried out independent research into the information needs of users of public information about higher education (HE). The research considered:
- what information is wanted and needed
- the best modes of delivering that information
- who should provide the information
- how the information would support potential students in making their choice of where to study.
Report on enhancing and developing the National Student Survey
The Institute of Education carried out research into enhancing and developing the National Student Survey in 2010. It developed a series of recommendations related to improving the survey, enhancing opportunities for using the results effectively and ensuring the survey's continued vitality.
In 2010, following on from the two pieces of research above, HEFCE, Universities UK and GuildHE published a joint consultation on public information about HE. This included proposals for:
- giving prospective students useful information about HE courses
- developing the National Student Survey
- improving access to the information that higher education institutions publish about their courses and which is used for quality assurance.
Analysis of consultation responses
Working groups and institutional pilots
Four KIS Expert Working Groups were established in 2011 to test the collection of data that was not already available nationally.
Recommendations from the KIS Expert Working Group
Institutional Pilot Groups looked at ways to develop a robust template, method and guidance for creating or collating the information items that were recommended by the expert working groups.
Pilot group: findings and recommendations
User-centred design of the Key Information Set
In 2011, we commissioned the consultancy Pure Usability to develop the KIS through a process of user-centred design.
Early evaluation of Unistats and the Key Information Set
We carried out an early evaluation in 2013 to get an early sense of the practical success of Unistats and the Key Information Set (KIS) after the relaunch of the Unistats web-site in September 2012. It covered three distinct strands:
Strand A: The user experience
Strand B: The institutional perspective
Strand C: Data audit.
Findings from the early evaluation showed that the site was well used and recognised as a useful and usable comparison site which can support users’ higher education choices.
It identified a range of changes to the data collection and to the design and functionality of the site, some of which have been implemented and some of which will be considered in the review of the provision of information in higher education.