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What's next for NewDLHE?

Data matters Graduates Destinations of Leavers

What’s next for NewDLHE? Back in September, we published the high-level consultation responses, and between us we have now officially read every response to every question – an impressive feat with 200+ responses to 128 questions.

We’ve been using your detailed feedback to create the survey design for the replacement to DLHE.

We’ve been using your detailed feedback to create the survey design for the replacement to DLHE. We’ve also held meetings with both the strategic and working groups to get their input on the areas from the consultation analysis which didn’t receive consensus, such as when the survey should take place. This has provided us with an informed basis to tackle the survey design.

Survey design

Redesigning the second biggest UK survey (after the census) is not a task without its challenges. One complexity is creating questions which are suitable for a diverse range of graduates. A criticism of the current DLHE has been that it is too focused on young undergraduates entering traditional employment paths. This does not adequately reflect the variability of the sector and so is a key area to tackle in the revision of the survey. One way we are addressing this is by trialling the survey design on a variety of scenarios, for example mature students studying alongside continuing employment.

You can expect in the survey design to see more questions, but a simpler survey to complete

Another challenge in designing the replacement survey to DLHE is asking questions which all graduates will understand in a similar manner, to get comparable data. Having recently attended training on survey design, and reviewing the current DLHE survey, I have realised the challenge of this should not be underestimated. Good survey practice focuses on asking more questions  which are simple to answer, rather than fewer questions which are complex to answer. Therefore, you can expect in the survey design to see more questions, but a simpler survey to complete. We’ll be carrying out thorough cognitive testing of the survey once the design is in place.

Methodologies

It is also important to consider the methodologies that we are using to gain the data from graduates. Most responses are currently received via telephone or online, which we don’t foresee changing through NewDLHE. This provides different experiences for the graduates; for example when completing via the telephone, the person conducting the survey can support the respondent in their response, whereas online the graduate is left to come to their own conclusions. The implications of the different experiences of these methodologies need to be evaluated.

Technology

We’ve been considering how to utilise routing in the survey, so graduates are only presented with questions that are entirely relevant to them

As well as understanding the differences in methodologies, it is important to consider how we can maximise advances in technology to our benefit. In particular, we’ve been considering how to utilise routing in the survey, so graduates are only presented with questions that are entirely relevant to them. This is something which is already done in the current DLHE, but we’re looking to strengthen for NewDLHE. We will be presenting the routing alongside the survey design in the consultation, so it’s clear to see the path through the survey for all groups.

Other activities and next steps

I’ve also been working with other groups on areas that impact the NewDLHE. This includes being a member of the Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) revision group, understanding what changes are required to create SOC2020. In the consultation responses, there were at least 420 references to SOC, which demonstrates how important it is to ensure that the coding frame adequately represents the graduate labour market. This is something I will be feeding in to the review process. We’ve also been working with the Longitudinal Education Outcomes (LEO) team at the Department for Education, to establish what data will be available from HMRC and how we can bring the datasets together in the future.

The next stage is to get out the second stage of consultation which will be launched early in the New Year

The next stage is to get out the second stage of consultation which will be launched early in the New Year. This will include the survey design, survey methodologies and timescales for implementation. The detail of these are currently being finalised, but we foresee the 2016/17 DLHE collection (C16018) will be the last DLHE as we know it.

Of course, the most important question is what name we give to the new graduate destinations survey. Answers welcome on a postcard or in the comments below…

'What's next for #NewDLHE?': @Rachel_Hewitt_ talks survey design, methodologies and technology

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Rachel Hewitt

Rachel Hewitt

Senior Data Policy & Governance Analyst