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Experimental Statistics: Widening participation and non-continuation rates

On Thursday 23 March 2017, 09:30, HESA released UK Performance Indicators (UKPIs) Experimental Statistics covering widening participation and non-continuation. This release has been produced by HESA on behalf of the UK Performance Indicators Steering Group (UKPISG). The statistics combine together data for publicly funded HE providers and alternative providers (APs) in England with specific course designation.

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For full details on this Experimental Statistics release, please see the PDF icon technical document, the key points are summarised below. Please email any comments on the Experimental Statistics release to [email protected]

UK Performance Indicators 2015/16: Experimental Statistics

Release date: March 2017

This UK Performance Indicator Experimental Statistics release covers widening participation and non-continuation rates at publicly funded HE providers and alternative providers.

  • Table T1a - Participation of under-represented groups in higher education: UK domiciled young full-time first degree entrants at publicly-funded HE Providers and Alternative Providers 2015/16
  • Table T1b - Participation of under-represented groups in higher education: UK domiciled young full-time undergraduate entrants at publicly-funded HE Providers and Alternative Providers 2015/16
  • Table T1c - Participation of under-represented groups in higher education: UK domiciled young full-time other undergraduate entrants at publicly-funded HE Providers and Alternative Providers 2015/16
  • Table T2a - Participation of under-represented groups in higher education: UK domiciled mature full-time undergraduate entrants at publicly-funded HE Providers and Alternative Providers 2015/16
  • Table T2b - Participation of under-represented groups in higher education: UK domiciled part-time undergraduate entrants at publicly-funded HE Providers and Alternative Providers 2015/16
  • Table T2c - Participation of under-represented groups in higher education: UK domiciled mature full-time other undergraduate entrants at publicly-funded HE Providers and Alternative Providers 2015/16
  • Table T3a - Non-continuation following year of entry: UK domiciled full-time first degree entrants at publicly-funded HE Providers and Alternative Providers 2014/15
  • Table T3b - Non-continuation following year of entry: UK domiciled young full-time first degree entrants at publicly-funded HE Providers and Alternative Providers 2014/15
  • Table T3c - Non-continuation following year of entry: UK domiciled mature full-time first degree entrants at publicly-funded HE Providers and Alternative Providers 2014/15
  • Table T3d - Non-continuation following year of entry: UK domiciled full-time other undergraduate entrants at publicly-funded HE Providers and Alternative Providers 2014/15
  • Table SP1: Percentage of UK domiciled young full-time first degree entrants at publicly-funded HE Providers and Alternative Providers from under-represented groups by Government Office region of domicile 2015/16
  • Table SP2 - UK domiciled young entrants at publicly-funded HE Providers and Alternative Providers to full-time first degree courses by subject and entry qualifications 2015/16
  • Table SP3 - UK domiciled mature entrants at publicly-funded HE Providers and Alternative Providers to full-time first degree courses by subject and entry qualifications 2015/16
  • Table SP4 - Percentage of UK domiciled young entrants at publicly-funded HE Providers and Alternative Providers to full-time first degree courses from state schools by subject and entry qualification 2015/16
  • Table SP6 - Percentage of UK domiciled young entrants at publicly-funded HE Providers and Alternative Providers to full-time first degree courses from POLAR3 low participation neighbourhoods by subject and entry qualification 2015/16
  • Table SP7 - Percentage of UK domiciled mature entrants at publicly-funded HE Providers and Alternative Providers to full-time first degree courses from POLAR3 low participation neighbourhoods by subject and entry qualification 2015/16
  • Table SN1 - Percentage of UK domiciled young entrants at publicly-funded HE Providers and Alternative Providers to full-time first degree courses in 2014/15 who are no longer in HE in 2015/16
  • Table SN2 - Percentage of UK domiciled mature entrants at publicly-funded HE Providers and Alternative Providers to full-time first degree courses in 2014/15 who are no longer in HE in 2015/16
  • Table SN3 - Percentage of all UK domiciled entrants at publicly-funded HE Providers and Alternative Providers to full-time other undergraduate courses in 2014/15 who are no longer in HE in 2015/16.
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What are experimental statistics?

The Code of Practice for Official Statistics defines Experimental Statistics as: "new official statistics undergoing evaluation. They are published in order to involve users and stakeholders in their development and as a means to build in quality at an early stage". This Experimental Statistics release aims to explore the incorporation of HE students registered at alternative providers within the coverage of UKPIs.

What is an Alternative Provider?

APs are higher education providers who do not receive recurrent funding from the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) or other public bodies and who are not further education colleges. Only APs located in England who have successfully completed a specific course designation process are required to submit data to HESA. This designation process means eligible students can access loans and grants from the Student Loans Company (SLC) on specific courses, referred to as designated courses.

In February 2017, we published an Experimental Statistical First Release which set out the details of student enrolments at alternative providers, and provided detail of some student demographic characteristics at APs.

How many APs are included?

63 APs submitted a 2014/15 AP Student data return to HESA, of these 58 satisfy the criteria to be included in the widening participation and non-continuation UK Performance Indicator Experimental Statistics. A further 38 submitted data to HESA in 2015/16 and are included in the widening participation UK Performance Indicator Experimental Statistics.

How does the Experimental Statistics methodology differ from the established UKPIs?

The extended indicators are largely consistent with the UK Performance Indicators 2015/16 with a small number of methodological adjustments. The key differences are outlined below:

Students who withdraw from their studies early in the academic year of entry are excluded under the original methodology, this has historically been done by removing students who withdraw before 1 December in the year of entry. To ensure that providers teaching students starting courses other than in the autumn are neither advantaged nor disadvantaged relative to others in the sector, the methodology has been adjusted to remove students from the full-time entrant population if they withdraw within 50 days of commencing their studies. The methodology for determining whether or not a student continues has also been adjusted to align with the methodology for determining whether an entrant. In addition, students who transfer between an HEI and an AP (or vice versa) are considered as a transfer rather than no longer in HE.

These indicators do not yet include students registered at further education colleges (FECs). UKPISG has committed to incorporating such students in future releases. HEFCE has previously published equivalent indicators for FECs and plans to issue a further update in autumn 2017.

What are the next steps?

Feedback is invited on the methodological refinements described and implemented within this March 2017 release. We also welcome feedback on the content, structure and usefulness of the Experimental Statistics. Please email any enquiries, comments or suggestions for future releases to [email protected]. It is UKPISG’s expectation that in the fullness of time, following appropriate evaluation and development, the methodological refinements employed within these Experimental Statistics will be applied within annual publications of UKPI Official Statistics.

In parallel with the publication of these experimental statistics UKPISG are undertaking a review of the approach and factors used in benchmarking. The review aims to ensure the methodology conforms to statistical best practice and that the factors included fully reflect a wider provider base with more diverse student characteristics. Please email any comments or suggestions for the review of benchmarking to [email protected].