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Student record 2014/15

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Further guidance on courses

Version 1.0 Produced 2014-09-25

The Student record includes a Course entity. A course is defined as the combination of subject(s) and qualification that defines what a student is aiming for. It describes the qualification that will be attained as a result of successful completion of studies. A rough rule of thumb would be 'what will go on the award certificate?' Inclusion of the Course entity recognises that there is a desire to analyse the record by course, specifically but not exclusively for the presentation of data for the Unistats (TQI) web site and the analysis of DLHE information.

The concept of course allows providers to clearly identify their own provision in terminology that is meaningful to them and to their students. Although the basic unit of counting for the student record is the student instance, the course entity provides providers with the flexibility to group the data as they would wish it to be presented in analysis by course. Providers will be able to differentiate between courses which may have the same course aim and similar subjects, for example distinguishing between a natural sciences degree with a large component of chemistry and a chemistry degree.

Where the student continues on the same course, the same Course.COURSEID should be kept for all years of the course. For the Unistats site, for example, information about entrants, continuation, outcomes and destinations will be published together. If the Course.COURSEID is not consistent throughout the course it will not be possible to compile a complete set of statistics as relating to a single course. Course.CTITLE will not allow for this aggregation: it is a text field and not suitable for the necessary validation. There is a student continuity validation warning when there is a UHN link but high numbers of Course.COURSEID changes.

It is acknowledged that there are some cases in which the course entity will be an artificial construct, for example, for some flexible modular programmes. However it is noted that the UCAS process is based around the concept of a course and therefore most providers will have addressed this issue for some of their provision, at least from a marketing perspective.

Most students will be registered onto a course with a specific, known, course aim. Where there may be multiple possible qualification outcomes, providers must return these as different courses (assuming it is known which particular qualification outcome individual students are aiming for). Where it is not known in advance of assessment which particular course aim is the intended qualification outcome for the individual student, then providers should group these as one, or more, courses with a generic course aim covering all possible options, for example credit at a particular level. Where groups of students aiming for different qualification outcomes are taught in the same classes, each group must be returned on a different course with an appropriate course aim.

Full details of the Course entity are contained in the Course specification document.

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