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To help inform the development of the Key Information Set (KIS), HEFCE commissioned Pure Usability to undertake research and user testing with prospective students to explore the most effective ways of presenting the KIS data items on the KIS (see the earlier report ‘User-Centred Design of Key Information Sets (KISs)’).

This work follows on directly from the earlier report by Pure Usability and aims to fine-tune elements of the KIS. The research aimed to produce design solutions and collate user feedback about three specific questions:

  1. How students perceive the KIS when complete data are not available.
  2. How data can be best presented to joint honours students.
  3. How data can be best presented to part time students.

The report found that although potential students were wary of aggregated data, this was preferable to the absence of data for a course of interest. Those interested in joint honours courses found being able to view all the KIS elements for the contributing courses at the same time helpful. Applicants to part-time courses had a different balance of information needs and showed a stronger interest in information on learning and learning breakdown. The research found that potential students required clear explanations to accompany the data presented on the KIS.

This report forms one element of a wider programme of research and development that has been undertaken regarding the KISs. Our public information web-pages contain more information about the project generally.

The Higher Education Public Information Steering Group (HEPISG), Chaired by Janet Beer (Vice Chancellor of Oxford Brooks) oversees this work and will consider these proposals in the context of the other research and development work mentioned above. Further details are available in 'Provision of information about higher education: Outcomes of consultation and next steps' (HEFCE 2011/18).