How should we measure higher education? A fundamental review of the Performance Indicators

December 2013

The UK Performance Indicators (UKPIs) for higher education (HE) provide information on the nature and performance of the HE sector in the UK. They are intended as an objective and consistent set of measures of how a higher education provider is performing. The first set of UKPIs was published in 1999, having been developed out of recommendations of the National Committee of Inquiry into Higher Education (the Dearing Report) to provide suitable indicators and associated benchmarks of the performance of the HE sector. The development of the UKPIs over time has been governed by the UK Performance Indicators Steering Group (UKPISG). For more information, see the content associated with UKPIs on the HESA web-site. This collaborative governance arrangement continues to bring together representatives of the four UK funding bodies for HE, the Higher Education Statistics Agency, government departments, HE institutions and other interested bodies to steer the development of these measures.

A fundamental review of the UKPIs was commissioned by UKPISG in early 2013, in the context of large-scale, fast-paced changes in the HE sector, and differing policies for HE between the UK nations. The overarching aim of the research was to review the rationale, purpose and policy drivers of the UKPIs, the usage and the users of the UKPIs; and whether the existing UKPIs were still fit for purpose. The review engaged with a wide range of interested bodies and organisations, through a series of stakeholder interviews, online consultation and deliberative events. The final reports of the review process were received by the UKPISG in September 2013, who will now use the findings reported in those documents to guide their future work.

UKPISG has invited providers of higher education in the UK to comment on some preliminary actions proposed in its initial response to the findings of the fundamental review of the UKPIs. This opportunity to comment is being provided to institutions before these changes are discussed further, formally amended if appropriate, accepted and then implemented by UKPISG during 2014. 

Page last updated 9 December 2013

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