# Alternative provider student record 2014/15

### Understanding the NSS reports

Version 1.0 Produced 2015-09-30

### Contents

Producing the NSS reports

Frequently asked questions

Working through the specification

#### Producing the NSS reportsBack to top

Once a valid file has been processed in the data collection system a series of reports are produced. One of these is the National Student Survey (NSS) report that identifies those students who are included or excluded from the survey population for the coming year.

To assist providers HESA has created a plain English specification that can be used to identify whether or not certain students should be included in the NSS survey population and why.

Question |
If yes |
If no |
Notes |

1. Is the student studying at postgraduate or FE level or undertaking COURSEAIM C30, H50, H60, H61, H62, H71, H78, H81, I60, I61, I81? | Student excluded from NSS Exclusion code 02 or 15 |
Continue to question 2 | You can use derived field XLEV301 to identify if the student is studying at FE or postgraduate level |

2. Was the student in the NSS population in the previous year? | Student excluded from NSS Exclusion code 03 |
Continue to question 3 | You can check this by looking at the previous year's NSS file |

3. Is the student an incoming exchange student? | Student excluded from NSS Exclusion code 04 |
Continue to question 4 | In the Student record you can identify incoming exchange students through Instance.EXCHANGE In the AP student record you can identify incoming exchange students through InstancePeriod.EXCHIND |

4. Was the student inactive/dormant for the whole year? | Student excluded from NSS Exclusion code 05 |
Continue to question 5 | In the Student record you can identify dormant students through Instance.Instance.MODE/InstancePeriod.MODE. In the AP student record you can identify inactive students through the derived field XINACT01 |

5. Is the student's expected end date outside of the survey period? | Student excluded from NSS Exclusion code 09 |
Continue to question 6 | See the 'Working through the specification' section for information on calculating the expected end date |

6. Would the student's total HE experience be equal to one year or less? | Student excluded from NSS Exclusion code 10 |
Continue to question 7 | You can identify the expected length of an instance using the fields Instance.UNITLGTH and Instance.SPLENGTH |

7. Is the total FTE throughout the whole instance less than or equal to 100? | Student excluded from NSS Exclusion code 10 |
Continue to question 8 | You can calculate this by summing the FTE returned for the instance in the previous two and current year, and predicting the FTE for the final year (based on the current year value) |

8. If the student is studying for multiple qualifications that would make them eligible for inclusion in the NSS twice in the same year, is this the lower qualification? | Student excluded from NSS Exclusion code 11 |
Continue to question 9 | Students can only be surveyed once in a given year so where a student is studying for multiple awards, they are surveyed in respect of the highest award. |

9. Has the student suspended studies? | Student excluded from NSS Exclusion code 12 |
Continue to question 10 | In the Student record students that have suspended studies are identified through Instance.NOTACT In the AP student record students that have suspended studies are identified through InstancePeriod.NOTACT |

10. Is the student studying overseas? | Student excluded from NSS Exclusion code 13 |
Continue to question 11 | In the Student record students studying overseas are identified through Instance.LOCSDY In the AP student record students studying overseas are identified through InstancePeriod.LOCSDY |

11. If the student was returned in the Student record, is the student studying on a closed course? | Student excluded from NSS Exclusion code 14 |
Continue to question 12 | Closed courses are identified through Course.CLSDCRS |

12. Is the answer to all of the above questions 1-11 'no'? | Student should be included in the NSS |

Please note that this table reflects the current year's NSS specification only and is subject to change year on year. This table is designed to complement the population specification which is available as part of the main NSS report available from the Data collection system.

#### Frequently asked questionsBack to top

**Q1. When is the NSS file available?**

A. The NSS report is usually available at the beginning of September following submission to the Data collection system. Once the report is available record contacts are notified by HESA.

**Q2. Who is eligible to be included in the survey population?**

A. All students at publicly funded HEIs in England, Wales and Northern Ireland studying on courses leading to undergraduate credits or qualifications will be surveyed in their final year of study. Participation in the survey is optional for providers in Scotland however the majority undertake the survey. Participation is currently optional for Alternative Providers in England. The specification for the population details the exact criteria for determining inclusion and this can be found in the coding manual.

**Q3. Are exchange students included?**

A. Outgoing exchange students are eligible for inclusion in the survey population however incoming students are not.

**Q4. Are dormant students eligible for inclusion?**

A. No, students who are inactive for the whole of the current reporting period are excluded from the survey population

**Q5. Are students with an undefined course length eligible to be included?**

A. Yes, students on flexible part-time programmes will usually be surveyed in their 4th year as it is not possible to determine which is the final year.

**Q6. If a student is repeating their penultimate year of study will they be excluded from the survey?**

A. These students are eligible to be included in the survey population however they will not be surveyed in their final year.

**Q7. How can I find out why a student/cohort has been excluded?**

A. The Exclusion file generated on the data collection system includes a code for each record that has been excluded. This code links to a section of the specification and identifies why the student/cohort has been excluded. The table above is also available to assist providers in identifying the cause of the exclusion.

**Q8. How can I find out why a student/cohort has been included?**

A. If you are unsure why a student has been included you are advised to follow the specification through to check that they meet all of the criteria. The table above is also available to assist providers in identifying the cause of the exclusion.

**Q9. The specification is hard to follow. Is a more user-friendly version available?**

A. There is not an alternative specification available, however some of the key stages in the specification are outlined in more detail in this document.

**Q10. Can students be included where they have been in the survey population previously?**

A. Where a student has been included in the survey population for the previous year they are excluded from the survey. If a student is included in the population and then subsequently undertakes further activity they may be included in the population in a future year. However they cannot be included in the population in two consecutive years.

**Q11. The Student/AP student record has closed but I have found a student who should have been included in the NSS population. Is there any way they can be included?**

If the student has been coded incorrectly in the Student/AP student record causing them to be excluded from the current survey population this cannot be amended through the data collection after the closure date. It is possible to add to the survey population in such cases however by contacting HEFCE. Please note that the survey population available from the HESA data collection system will remain unchanged as it is based on the data returned to HESA. HEFCE will advise HESA of any additions to the survey population to ensure that these students are not included in the survey the following year if their pattern of study has changed.

#### Working through the specificationBack to top

#### What do Y1, Y2 etc refer to?

Throughout the specification the calculations refer to years using the abbreviation YX, where X is a numerical value. In this context Y1 will refer to the first year of the current reporting period. For example, in the C14051 (2014/15) collection Y1 = 2014. Y1-1 would therefore be the year prior to this, 2013. Full details of the Yx values can be found in the specification for the relevant year.

**Calculating the expected end date 'EXPEND'**

A. The expected end date is calculated in the following stages:

- If an Instance.ENDDATE has been returned for the instance they are excluded from the survey population.
- If the record has an unknown Instance.UNITLGTH (9) and the Instance.COMDATE is later than or equal to 01 August Y1-1 then they are excluded. For example for the 2014/15 record, a student with an Instance.UNITLGTH = 9 and an Instance.COMDATE of 30 September 2013 would be excluded.
- Calculate YEARADJ (see 'calculating YEARADJ' below)
- Calculate EXPEND using the formulae:

If Instance.UNITLGTH = 1 then EXPEND = Instance.COMDATE + (Instance.SPLENGTH + YEARADJ) years

If Instance.UNITLGTH = 2 then EXPEND = Instance.COMDATE + Instance.SPLENGTH months + YEARADJ years

If Instance.UNITLGTH = 3 then EXPEND = Instance.COMDATE + Instance.SPLENGTH weeks + YEARADJ years

EXPEND is also provided in the exclusion file to assist providers where the reason for exclusion has been given as 9 (expected end date outside of survey period).

#### Calculating YEARADJ

Year adjustment (YEARADJ) is used in calculating the expected end date. The year adjustment applies to all records. Where Instance.YEARPRG/InstancePeriod.YEARPRG = 99 (not applicable) or is null, YEARADJ = 0.

Example 1

Where a foundation year has not been undertaken YEARADJ = (31 July Y2 - (Instance.COMDATE - 1 day)) - Instance.YEARPRG/InstancePeriod.YEARPRG.

For example:

Instance.COMDATE | 2012-08-10 |

Instance.UNITLGTH | 1 (years) |

Instance.SPLENGTH | 4 |

Instance.YEARPRG/InstancePeriod.YEARPRG | 3 |

In this case Y2 = 2015

(31 July 2015 - (10 September 202 - 1 day))* - Instance.YEARPRG/InstancePeriod.YEARPRG = 0.

*Note that there is a process in place (CEIL) which **rounds up** the difference to the nearest whole number. Therefore 4 months becomes 1 year.

Example 2

Where a foundation year has been undertaken YEARADJ = (31 July Y2 - (Instance.COMDATE - 1 day)) - Instance.YEARPRG/InstancePeriod.YEARPRG - 1.

Instance.COMDATE | 2012-09-10 |

Instance.UNITLGTH | 1 (years) |

Instance.SPLENGTH | 4 |

Instance.YEARPRG/InstancePeriod.YEARPRG | 2 |

In this case Y2 = 2015

(31 July 2015 - (10 September 2010 - 1 day))* - Instance.YEARPRG/InstancePeriod.YEARPRG - 1 = 0.

*Note that there is a process in place (CEIL) which **rounds up** the difference to the nearest whole number. Therefore 4 months becomes 1 year.

#### Foundation Years and YEARADJ

Those providers who offer integrated foundation years should pay particular attention to the NSS population file. For those providers submitting data to HESA for the first time, or for whom continuing students are being reported who would have undertaken an integrated foundation year that was not reported to HESA, there will be students who are being surveyed in the incorrect year or omitted entirely.

The YEARADJ calculation is a step in deriving the NSS population which looks at the combination of expected length of study and year of programme to identify when a student is in their penultimate year. It identifies whether the student has previously been reported on an integrated foundation year (YEARPRG = 0) and adjusts the calculation accordingly. Where the foundation year was not reported to HESA the calculation cannot take this into consideration, thus what appears to be the penultimate year will actually be the final year and the student will be excluded from the survey population.

Where this is the case providers will need to contact HEFCE to arrange to include these students in the survey population.

#### What is a 'short course'?

A.The short course exclusion includes two stages. The first looks at the length of the course and the second looks at the total FTE. If the total FTE is **lower than or equal to 100** the record is excluded from the population. If a record meets any of the following criteria it will be excluded under this code:

- If the course has a Course.TTCID of F (SKE programme).
- Where Instance.COMDATE is equal to or after 01 August Y2.
- Instance.UNITLGTH = 4 or 5
- Where the course is expected to last less than or equal to one year based on Instance.UNITLGTH and Instance.SPLENGTH.

Following these checks the total FTE (TOTFTE) value is calculated for the remaining records.

**Calculating TOTFTE**

If Instance.UNITLGTH = 9 (undefined) **OR** Instance.MODE/InstancePeriod.MODE is anything other than 01, 23, 24 or 25 **AND** TOTFTE is less than or equal to 100 the record will be excluded.

The TOTFTE calculation totals the Instance.STULOAD/InstancePeriod.STULOAD returned for this instance in the current and previous two reporting periods and then adds the projected load for the final year. The Instance.STULOAD/InstancePeriod.STULOAD value for the final year is taken from the value returned for the current year.

For example:

Year |
Instance.STULOAD/InstancePeriod.STULOAD |

01 | 50 |

02 | 50 |

03 | 50 |

Projected load for final year | 50 |

This student would therefore be included as the total FTE is greater than the 100 threshold.

If however the Instance.STULOAD/InstancePeriod.STULOAD was returned as follows then the record would be excluded because the total FTE is not greater than 100. Records where the total FTE is less than the threshold will be marked with exclusion code 10 'short course'.

Year |
Instance.STULOAD/InstancePeriod.STULOAD |

01 | 25 |

02 | 25 |

03 |
25 |

Projected load for final year | 25 |

For students who were included in the survey list of two years previous the total FTE (TOTFTE) calculation works slightly differently and considers only the Instance.STULOAD/InstancePeriod.STULOAD returned since they were last included in the survey population with the addition of the projected load for the final year.

For **providers in Scotland ** in the Student record, the TOTFTE calculation includes an additional stage. If, in the current reporting year, Instance.FTEMETHOD = 2 (all the load is assumed to be in the first HESA reporting year) and TYPEYR records that the instance runs on non-standard years, the total FTE will be the sum of the Instance.STULOAD/InstancePeriod.STULOAD returned but will **not** include the projected Instance.STULOAD/InstancePeriod.STULOAD for the final year.

Contact Liaison by email or on +44 (0)1242 388 531.