The guide (Note 1) has been developed by the four UK higher education funding bodies in partnership with Universities UK, GuildHE, the Association of Colleges and the National Union of Students (NUS). It is relevant to all providers of higher education.
The suggested good practice takes account of the Competition and Markets Authority’s advice on consumer law. It covers the areas that the Review of Unistats and the Key Information Set (see Note 2) indicated should be made available in detail on providers’ websites and linked to from Unistats, rather than collected and published centrally. The guide will help students access detailed and contextualised information, presented in a way that allows them to make appropriate course comparisons to inform their study choices.
HEFCE has also published arrangements for Unistats 2017. As indicated in the review outcomes, the funding bodies have removed information about scheduled learning and teaching, assessment methods and fees from the data to be collected for Unistats in 2017. Instead, providers will be expected to provide this information on their own websites, based on the good practice guide, and Unistats will include links to these areas of information. We have also renamed the data collection from the Key Information Set to the Unistats collection, to reflect feedback indicating a preference for a strong single brand.
Unistats will include the outcomes of Year 2 of the Teaching Excellence Framework from May, and from September there will be changes to course pages to reflect the new National Student Survey (NSS) and the changes to the data collection.
HEFCE is discussing further potential changes with the Department for Education. These include improvements to the website and the potential use of data from the Longitudinal Educational Outcomes dataset and the proposed transparency duty in England.
The funding bodies are in the process of implementing other changes arising from the Review of information about learning and teaching, and the student experience.
The new National Student Survey for 2017 went live on 9 January 2017. As part of the evaluation of the new NSS questions, a short questionnaire asks students for their views once they have completed the main survey. We are currently in the process of reviewing the optional banks of questions, with focus groups looking at new questions for implementation in 2018.
Work is progressing on a national feedback survey for taught postgraduate students. A steering group with sector and NUS representatives, chaired by Professor Sue Rigby, is providing input to the survey development. The funding bodies expect to consult on proposals for the survey late in 2017.
3. Read ‘Unistats: Data collection timetable and changes for 2017’ (HEFCE Circular letter 04/2017).