HESA Student record 2012/13
Further information on the expansion of level 3 qualifications data for HEIs
Version 1.3 Produced 2013-02-27
Further to the introduction of the AAB+ equivalency policy in England there is requirement from HEFCE in 2012/13 to capture enhanced level 3 qualifications data for HEFCE-fundable entrants to full-time undergraduate courses. This will enable HEFCE to carry out analysis on students inside or outside the student number control population. This requirement was first communicated in Annex A - Changes to the student record for 2012/13.
In most cases the additional coverage required relates to qualifications that are not within the scope of UCAS' operational arrangements with the awarding bodies. Following discussions between HEFCE, UCAS and HESA, a set of options to help HEFCE-funded institutions fulfil HEFCE's requirements have been developed and are outlined here.
New files on unverified level 3 qualifications to be provided to UCAS members
UCAS is developing algorithms to capture in an analytically usable form structured and semi-structured unverified qualification information, that is, those qualifications that are entered directly by applicants in the UCAS Apply system. For those qualifications that are not expected to be present in the verified level 3 qualifications data from awarding bodies ('ABL' currently supplied through existing *J processes) UCAS will create files including these qualifications for all UCAS member institutions.
The scope of these files will be:
- Qualifications held by accepted applicants to UCAS member HEIs,
- Types of qualification that are currently covered by the qualification scope of ABL,
- Qualifications that are recorded in UCAS Apply system as achieved in a period that would not be expected to already be covered by the existing ABL arrangements. This is intended to reduce duplication of qualifications between this extract and the ABL arrangements,
- Qualifications where it has been possible to assign a qualification type and any associated grade.
UCAS will provide to members text files that cover the qualifications in this scope and provide the qualification type, grade and - where possible - information on the subject together with sufficient identifiers to link back to the main *J file. The files will cover both immediate and deferred acceptances into the 12-13 academic year. These files will be made available by UCAS to members by the end of January 2013. UCAS will notify members of the specification and how to access this file nearer the time.
HEFCE-funded higher education institutions (HEIs) in England
1. Process and transfer of data to HEFCE for UCAS member HEIs (England)
HEFCE-funded institutions will have a period of at least six weeks to assess the unverified level 3 qualification files before indicating to HEFCE how they would like to satisfy HEFCE's requirement for enhanced level 3 coverage for 12-13. HEFCE will write to institutions about this process nearer the time. There will be three options:
Options for satisfying the enhanced level 3 qualifications requirement on HEFCE-funded institutions that are UCAS members
- The institution indicates it is content for UCAS to act as its agent in providing the unverified level 3 qualification files directly to HEFCE in time for them to be used in conjunction with the 2012/13 HESA student record. This option will satisfy HEFCE's requirement without any change to the coverage of the HESA return.
- The institution wishes to return the file directly to HEFCE. This option allows the institution to make changes to the unverified level 3 qualification files to reflect any verification or other processes it wishes to carry out. If changes are made HEFCE may require the original file to be returned as well to help in the assessment of the nature of the unverified level 3 qualification files. This option will satisfy HEFCE's requirement without any change to the coverage of the HESA return.
- The institution does not return any files to HEFCE but instead opts to enhance the coverage of the HESA record return to meet the requirement. The institution may choose to use the unverified level 3 qualification files as part of its process for collating and verifying qualifications before returning them on the HESA record. However the presence of a qualification on the unverified level 3 qualification files is not, in itself, to be taken as sufficient evidence that the qualification is held. Institutions must support this through their usual processes of qualification verification to the normal standard of a HESA return. If satisfied with their own internal verification the qualifications would be submitted as part of the 2012/13 HESA Student record via Aardvark. It will not be possible to separately identify these qualifications as unverified level 3 qualifications for 2012/13.
HEFCE and UCAS have agreed that the currently unknown nature of these new data means that they cannot be used for inclusion in the HESA return without further verification by institutions. Therefore HEFCE’s preference is that for 2012/13 institutions adopt option a, asking UCAS to provide the data on their behalf directly to HEFCE. This direct return will minimise burden on providers and allow HEFCE to assess the nature of this new data source by linking to the Learning Record Service, and after that – if appropriate – in student number control work. Following this assessment guidance will be given for the use of these data in 2013/14.
2. Process for satisfying the enhanced level 3 qualifications requirement on HEFCE-funded institutions that are not UCAS members
UCAS will neither extract nor supply the expanded level 3 qualifications data files to non-UCAS member HEIs.
It is the responsibility of non-UCAS member HEIs to return all level 3 qualifications held by HEFCE-fundable entrants applying to full-time undergraduate courses via the HESA Student record 2012/13 qualifications on entry entity. This information will be captured at enrolment.
HESA Student record 2012/13
There is no additional valid entry requirement for the HESA Student record 2012/13 as the expanded level 3 qualifications' Qualification types are within the scope of ABL - which are already included in the record.
Onward use of this data by HEFCE for HEFCE-funded HEIs 2012/13
For 2012/13 HEFCE's use of the unverified qualifications transferred to HEFCE through options 'a' or 'b' will be ring-fenced solely for the purpose of HEFCE's student number control policy.
Data submitted by HEIs through option 'c' by UCAS member HEIs or submitted by non-UCAS member HEIs will be included in the HEIs' HESA Student record 2012/13. These qualifications data will therefore be deemed as verified by the HEI and used in all routine analysis.
In the fullness of time, HEFCE, after careful analysis and quality assurance would expect to analyse this data (supplied post 12/13) for a wider range of purposes (i.e. not just for student number control). The exact scope, transfer mechanism and use of such data post 2012/13 has yet be fully explored and discussed.
HEIs in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales
Although this requirement is only applicable to HEFCE-funded entrants to full-time undergraduate courses, UCAS will provide the unverified level 3 qualifications data files to all of its member institutions regardless of administration. There is no requirement for on HEIs in Northern Ireland, Scotland or Wales to capture this unverified level 3 qualifications data.
If the institution chooses to use the unverified level 3 qualification files as part of its process for collating and verifying qualifications before returning them on the HESA record, then the presence of a qualification on the unverified level 3 qualification files must not, in itself, to be taken as sufficient evidence that the qualification is held. Institutions must support this through their usual processes of qualification verification and be prepared to be audited on this.
The administrations in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales will determine any additional guidance on how they wish HEIs to use this data. Further communication needs to take place with these administrations as to establish any onward transfer of this data.
Contact Liaison by email or on +44 (0)1242 388 531.