KIS Frequently asked questions
Version 1.9 Produced 2012-10-02
1. Is a KIS required for top-up courses?
In general no, as these will not exceed one FTE. If they do exceed one FTE they will need a KIS. In order to avoid extra burden institutions are not allowed to publish a KIS for a course that does not meet the coverage requirements.
2. A course is run in the UK but only for international and/or EU students - does it need a KIS?
No, courses run only for international and/or EU students do not require a KIS. If the course was also open to UK applicants then a KIS must be submitted.
3. Is a KIS required for a closed course?
A course is defined as closed where the syllabus (and/or examinations) is specifically designed for a certain group of people and the course is not also available to other suitably qualified candidates. A course may be designed for a particular company (with examples and/or timings altered to suit the company). For such courses, which do not recruit freely, a KIS record is not required however if the course can also be applied to by other suitably qualified candidates, a KIS is required.
4. Are KIS records required for post-graduate courses which attract undergraduate funding?
If the course is post-graduate, irrespective of the funding, it is outside of the coverage and therefore does not require a KIS.
5. How will collaborative/franchise provision work?
The KIS items should be provided by the franchising institution and the widget should be mounted on the web-site of the institution that recruits the students. Where the institution reports the students to HESA in the Student record they are responsible for producing the KIS and the institution that delivers the teaching should display the widget.
6. If a course is run at multiple partner colleges, are several KIS records required?
No, you only need to return one KIS per course which will link to one central URL for the course.
7. If a course is validated by another institution, who is responsible for producing the KIS?
The institution to whom the students belong, and which is responsible for returning the students in the HESA Student record, is responsible for producing the KIS. Where an institution validates degrees delivered by other institutions, but the students do not belong to the institution, there is no requirement for them to produce a KIS record.
8. If a course has multiple start dates, are multiple KIS required?
9. Is a KIS course required for each entry point to a course (other than for multiple start dates) and therefore a course which has standard entry to level 4 and entry to a foundation year (at level 3) will require 2 KIS courses and therefore 2 KIS widgets to be displayed on the course page?
This depends on how the course is advertised- if they are advertised as separate programmes/routes then yes.
10. For courses with multiple subjects where students may choose whether to follow a balanced or major/minor combination is a separate KIS needed for each?
No, although institutions may choose to provide one.
11. Do Foundation years with an articulation into standard 3 year BA/BSc programmes need to be included in the KIS?
If students can apply to undertake this route then it does require a KIS record with 4 stages to include the foundation year. If however students can only apply to do the foundation, and then decide from that point whether to continue and progress on to the BA/BSc course, then a separate KIS is not required.
12. Nursing course which is 120 credits over 18 months, and students apply through UCAS and the course is NHS funded. Should these be included?
No, it is excluded.
13. Do different fees mean a different KIS?
If there is a FT course and a PT then these would be as one KIS and FT fee would be displayed. If there are two courses and one is franchised with a different fee then there would be 2 KIS's.
14. If an HEI starts advertising their 2014/15 courses prior to the new KIS being available. Should we add the 2013 KIS to our course pages or not have any KIS for these courses?
You should add the 2013 KIS to these course pages.
15. Is a KIS required for graduate entry programmes?
16. Are courses with a COURSEAIM = M78/M88 included?
No, these have been removed from the coverage because they are mainly postgraduate in level and therefore not eligible.17. When should a KIS be produced for a new course?
A KIS must be produced as soon as the course is advertised.
1. What is the difference in content between the 3 types of KIS?
The Field summary by KISTYPE and UCAS status document details different requirements for the KISTYPEs.
2. If we have a course that has two or more JACS codes but we always treat as a single course, can we return this as a KISTYPE 1?
Institutions may choose to return a KISTYPE 1 for courses which have multiple subjects and a normal intake of fewer than 20 students. Institutions may only choose this option where the course is marketed and managed as a single programme; normally this will mean that the course has a single programme specification. Even when these conditions are met, if the normal entry cohort is fewer than 20, institutions may still return a combination of KISTYPE 2 and 3.
3. Aren't KISTYPE 3 at too broad a level to be helpful?
They will still be useful; ideally data would be presented at course level for all courses but this is not possible as numbers on many courses are far too small to present robust data.
4. Why can't we link a KISTYPE 2 to a mixture of KISTYPE 1 and 3?
This might be confusing for students as it will present data at different levels. It is not proposed to change this for the 2012 KIS. In the vast majority of cases at least some data will be presented at subject level anyway.
5. Should medical courses that contain a mixture of clinical and pre-clinical codes be treated as multiple subject courses?
No, a KISTYPE 1 should be produced for the whole course
6. If I am producing a KISTYPE 3 do I need to provide a separate one for each mode and level?
If there are KISTYPE 2's at different levels (first degree or other undergraduate) or modes (full-time or part-time) then a separate KISTYPE 3 will be required for each.
7. How do we accommodate joint honours/combined studies programmes where listed at UCAS in separate pathways but run as one big scheme/programme?
For all the separate pathways with a cohort of 20 or more a KISTYPE 1 should be returned for the courses. For separate pathways with a cohort of less than 20 then a KISTYPE 1 or 2 should be returned for these programmes with a RELATEDKIS for the joint honours/combined (KISTYPE 1 or 3 if a KISTYPE 2 is used).
8. If a suite of courses are marketed as one course but in practice at the institution they are managed as separate courses should this be a KISTYPE 1 or 2?
If they're marketed and managed as one, then a KISTYPE 1 should be returned.
1. If not all accommodation is available to undergraduates should only those places available to undergraduate be included?
2. What method should be used to calculate quartiles?
Any of the methods are acceptable. They all give different answers in particular edge cases but we are not worried about these, in the vast majority of cases all methods will give rise to the same answer as the ratio of different prices to number of rooms will be low. Guidance on calculating quartiles can be found at http://mathworld.wolfram.com/Quartile.html.
3. Do head tenancy agreements (where the institution acts as an agent for private landlords) count as private or institution beds for accommodation data?
The distinction should be made based on the number of beds in the property; if it is 11 or more then it should be included in institutional owned/sponsored, if it is 10 or below then it should be in private rental.
4. If partner colleges provide accommodation to students should these be included in the institution accommodation data for KIS even though they are not exclusively for the use of the institutions' students?
Rooms at the partner colleges should be included to the extent that their students might reasonably expect to have access to those rooms.
5. Where the University has vetted private accommodation, but the contract of the student is with the private landlord should these bed spaces and costs be included as institution accommodation?
Vetted accommodation should be included in the calculations of the private sector data. As the accommodation is not owned or managed by the institution it cannot be included as institution beds.
1. The JACS3 coding frame will be introduced shortly - which coding frame should be used for the KIS, and how will the transition between the two be managed?
JACS2.0 should be used until the 2013-14 KIS as this is the first year that HESA data using JACS3.0 will be available for linking. In the transition year, we will map JACS2.0 from Student 2011-12 to JACS3.0 for the purposes of aggregating data.
2. Should ENGFEE, NIFEE, SCOTFEE and WAFEE be returned as the average maximum fee for a year of the course or the total fees for the whole course?
ENGFEE, NIFEE, SCOTFEE and WAFEE should be the average by year and so should be between 0 - 9000.
3. Please can you provide further clarification on the requirement to provide KIS related material in Welsh, i.e. is it only those courses that are delivered through the medium of Welsh that are required to provide this?
The KIS needs to be provided bilingually for all courses offered in Welsh institutions, whether available in Welsh, English or both languages. In terms of URLs provided for inclusion in the KIS, it is the institution's responsibility to manage its web presence in accordance with its Welsh language scheme, which will cover what they have committed to provide bilingually on their website. If their Welsh language scheme indicates that the institution would not necessarily provide relevant pages through the medium of Welsh, then the advice should be that they copy the URL to both fields.
4. What is the average maximum fee?
It is the maximum fee for each year averaged over the number of years.
5. Can institutions report have a range of fees for a course?
No, just one set number reflecting the average maximum fee.
6. Where a course includes a year out for which students pay reduced fees; should this be reflected in the fee fields?
The lower fees should be included in the calculation of the average maximum and the wording on the site will make it clear that the value reflects different fees charged in different years as indicated by VARFEE.
7. Can the course URL link to the current prospectus page for the course, regardless of which year it relates to?
8. Can we add multiple course URLs?
This would require a change to the XML specification so this will not be changed for the 2012 KIS. Institutions should provide a link to a generic page. The maximum occurrences for this field is set at 1.
9. How should NSP be treated in KIS?
NSP should not be treated as a waiver in KIS.
10. What is included in the definition of means tested support in the KIS record?
This relates to means tested support provided by the institution but may be fee waivers, bursaries, discounts on accommodation etc.
11. Does the means tested support (MEANSSUP) field need to be completed if the institution participates in the National Scholarship Programme (NSP)?
MEANSSUP should only be completed if institutions are providing means tested support in addition to their participation in NSP.
12. Do all undergraduate COURSEIDs present in the HESA Student return require a KIS?
No, for example: courses that are no longer recruiting would be on the HESA/ILR records but not have a KIS. The output from the KIS submission system will include a report on these however, in case they have been omitted accidentally.
13. Can an institution return a KIS for a programme that is marketed through UCAS but has no students attached to it in either 2009/10 or 2010/11, but is not a new course?
Yes, this is acceptable as long the HEI returns the subject, level and mode information. The HESACourse entity should not be returned in such cases.
14. Do Criminal Record Bureau checks, which are prerequisites for entry onto a course, have to be included in NONCREDITASSESS?
No. Any requirement for entry should not be taken into consideration here. However, institutions should make it clear on their course websites what the entry requirements for the course are, including any statutory, regulatory or professional verification procedures which prospective students are expected to clear before entry.
15. How should courses where the fees are paid by the NHS/SHA be returned?
Where it is the case that the fees for all students on the course are paid for by the NHS/SHA the maximum fee should be returned as 0. This is only the case where there is no possibility for a student on that course to pay their own fees, for example if the institution can recruit above the NHS/SHA numbers, full fee information would have to be returned.
16. How should courses be returned where they link to multiple HESA/ILR courses with different JACS codes?
Where a single course links to multiple HESA courses/ILR aims and the level 3 JACS codes for these are not all the same then it is necessary to treat the course as a KIS type =2 course and link to the most appropriate type=3 KIS. Note where this has arisen due to data error then the courses with the erroneous subject codes should be removed.
1. What if a course is accredited by more than one body?
The XML structure allows for up to 10 accreditations to be recorded for a single KIS.
2. What happens if it is the institution rather than the course that is accredited?
Provided accreditation applies to all relevant courses offered by an institution it should be recorded on every relevant KIS
3. What information is required to be displayed regarding accreditation?
There should be enough information on the institutions web-site to allow students to make informed choices. For example, if accreditation means that the student has a highly constrained programme then this should be clear to them. The web based documents should make it clear exactly what modules a student will need to take to gain accreditation.
4. What information needs to be displayed on the web page that the ACCDEPENDURL field directs to?
The aim is to give students slightly more information than can be conveyed by the simple use of a tick box. It depends on how complex the accreditation is but the page could include a list of modules students would be required to take in order to gain accreditation.
5. If a course is accredited by a body which does not appear in the ACCBODYID list, but is formed by two bodies which are on the list, how should this be returned?
In such cases return both of the accrediting bodies in place of the joint body.
6. If the accreditation for a course runs out before the end of the course should it be excluded from the KIS?
Any accreditation that a course has that will potentially apply to 2013-14 entrants should be included in the KIS even if the accreditation will need renewal. An existing accreditation should only be excluded if it will expire and there are no plans to renew it.
1. In analysing scheduled contact time, if in an hour timetable slot the teaching typically lasts 50 with 10 minutes scheduled to move between buildings, should this pattern be recorded as 1 hour or 50 minutes?
We would expect 50 minutes to be reported in the scheduled and teaching activities as this is the time the students are expected to be in the lecture.
2. Is it acceptable to record an all-day supervised studio session as 7.3 hours, if this time reflects the standard working day of the member of staff?
It is correct to report the schedules workshop session as 7.3 hours provided there is an expectation that the students would be present for all 7.3 hours.
3. How should the clinical teaching placements in medical, dental and nursing courses be treated?
These should be treated as placements rather than work based learning.
4. How do we deal with the case where the total number of hours on placement exceeds 10 hours per credit?
It should be capped at 10 hours per credit.
5. How do we record time that is not associated with credit, e.g. zero credit placement modules and seminars not linked to a module?
In this case the hours associated should be added to the numerator and denominator of the calculation. For example, if a course has 300 hours of scheduled learning and teaching activities associated with credit and a further 50 hours not associated with credit then 28% (350/1250) would be scheduled learning and teaching activities.
6. If a course requires students to undertake one of two placements, both are likely to end up in the typical student calculation. Won't this overstate the placement hours?
In this case the two placements should be treated as if they were a single module. It may be appropriate to adopt the same approach where other modules are offered in a way that means students must take one, and only one, module out of a choice of many. In these cases it will normally be appropriate to only include the most popular of these modules.
7. Do placements and years abroad need to be broken down further into scheduled and independent study?
There is no need to break these down into component parts. This is covered in the Calculation of assessment methods and learning and teaching methods document.
8. Some of our courses have credit bearing years out which count towards a student's final degree classification, but other have years out which are compulsory but not credit bearing - how should this be reflected in KIS?
In both cases the year should be included.
9. How do we record courses where the standard is more than 120 credits?
In calculating the percentages use the normal number of credits for a full-time year, this will not be shown on the KIS but should be included institutional documentation linked to through KISCourse.LTURL.
10. How should distance learning be included in learning and teaching methods?
Generally this will be guided independent study.
11. Should international students be included in the typical student calculations as they are not the intended audience for the KIS?
12. Is an in-class test classified as an exam or coursework?
This is a set exercise (detailed notes are provided on the treatment of these in Calculation methods).
13. How should time spent in assessments be included in the learning and teaching methods?
Time spent in summative assessments should be excluded, and time spent in formative assessments should be included according to the type of activity.
14. How should the assessment methods fields be completed for a course stage which does not have any assessment?
Where there is no assessment for a course stage the fields CourseStage.WRITTEN, COURSEWORK and PRACTICAL should be completed with 0.
15. How should the assessment method indicator be completed for new courses?
The marking of entries as estimated or actual depends solely on whether they are a result of analysis the patterns of actual students or whether they are based on the patterns the institution expects students to follow. Estimates will therefore be appropriate for new courses and courses that have undergone significant revision such that the patterns of current students are not a realistic predictor for future students. In the case of a new course where all modules are mandatory despite no actual students having taken the course it seems appropriate to mark these as actual.
16. Where courses have undergone significant change should the data for all course stages be estimated for first year?
17. Should a class test be recorded as a written exam if it counts towards assessment?
18. Where a module spans a stage how should it contribute to learning and teaching methods and assessment methods?
Institutions should determine what proportion of the module falls into each stage and then treat them as a separate module in each year with the appropriate credit value. For example, a 30 credit module spans stages with 2/3 of the module falling in the first stage should be treated as a 20 credit module in stage 1 and a 10 credit module in stage 2. No attempt needs to be made to determine the actual learning and teaching methods or assessment methods used in each stage.
19. How should Clinical placements that exceed 1200 hours in a year be handled in KIS?
The total notional hours for a placement should be capped at its notional credit value times 10 hours.
20. How should learning and teaching methods be calculated for medicine courses which do not follow a modular pattern?
Institutions will have to determine the typical programme structure for these students; where students have choices about what to take the institution should pick the most popular choices. If as in some cases the medical programmes are 140 credits per year, institutions should base their calculations on 1400 hours and note this in the learning and teaching methods link.
21. How should learning and teaching methods to be calculated for KISTYPE 3 records?
We are not expecting a separate type 3 KIS for every combination, rather we are expecting one type 3 KIS for each JACS level 2 code for each level of study, that is to say there will be at most 84 type 3 KIS for any institution. The point of a type 3 KIS is to give a flavour of what studying the subject is like and therefore we would expect a type 3 KIS for a first degree to have 3 stages.
22. Should students registered on the part time equivalent of a KISCourse be included in the assessment and teaching & learning methods calculations?
Yes they should.
23. Should the assessment calculation be based on proportion of time spent in each category or the credit weighting?
The weighting should be based on the notional credit value of the assessment.
24. Where an assessment is not credit bearing but the student is required to pass it in order to progress to the next stage how should this be recorded?
If the assessment is not associated with credit but is a compulsory part of the stage the NONCREDITASSESS field should be completed to reflect this. Although the student is required to undertake and pass the exam in order to progress on the course, if the test is not associated with credit it should not be included in the calculation of assessment methods.
25. How should the learning and teaching methods for study at a partner institution be calculated?
Institutions should make a reasonable estimate of these based on discussions with their partner institutions. It is not expected that the prescribed methodology will be followed to the letter in these cases, rather institutions should make a reasonable effort to provide comparable data.
26. Where external accreditation requires students to spend significantly more than 10 hours per credit on placements, should the hours still be scaled back to 10 per credit?
Where external requirements dictate that students should spend significantly more than 10 hours per credit in placements, then these extra hours should be added to the numerator and denominator in the same way as other non-credit bearing, yet compulsory, activities.
1. How will the data be presented when a type 1 KIS does not have enough data and spans JACS areas?
Separate data will be shown for each of the JACS subjects used in the aggregation, and the level of aggregation will be clearly indicated for each item.
2. Will there be an option for providing KIS data using an extension to the Course Data format XCRI-CAP?
There is very little overlap between data items included in XCRI-CAP and the KIS. We believe that in those areas where KIS and XCRI-CAP share data items these are compatible.
3. How will the assumption of the year being based on 1200 hours be shown?
It will be in the notes that accompany the KIS.
4. Will the aggregation of DLHE and NSS data be undertaken by institutions?
No the aggregation of NSS and DLHE data will be undertaken centrally by HEFCE.
5. Are institutions required to maintain separate webpages for each entry year of the course?
No there is no requirement to maintain separate web pages for each year of the entry to the course. The URL itself will need to be active for the full academic year (end 31 July Y2).
6. Will I be able to include a single widget for a type 2 KIS or will the course pages have to have 2/3 widgets?
It is planned to provide institutions with a single widget that simply provides links to the relevant related KIS; institutions would be free to include the widgets for the related KIS.
7. What will happen where different data are aggregated at different levels?
The web-site will show the level of aggregation applied to each item separately.
8. Can we put the widget for a different course in many places, e.g. on each of our partners sites?
The widget for a course can be placed on more than one page.
9. For franchised courses where should the KIS be published?
It must be on the web-site for the recruiting institution but may also be published on other institutions' web-sites.
10. When can HEIs make the widget available on their web sites?
They can publish the widget from w/c 24th September 2012.
11. Where a course is PT and FT what is the KIS based on?
NSS data will include all students. DLHE data for FT and PT can differ widely so will include data from the FT version of the course. It will be made clear that employment information relates to FT only.
12. How will the KIS record explain the reason for no data from NSS and DLHE being displayed due to small student numbers?
The wording being decided by HEPISG for the website will be sensitive and make it clear that ‘No data' is not an indication of poor quality. Items with ‘No data' will match on all search criteria.
13. If there are two KIS's and complementary widgets, does the institution display both or pick the best one?
The institution should display both.
14. If the widget is provided with a course code which requires multiple KISTYPE data, will HESA/HEFCE handle the surfacing of the multiple data, or are institutions expected to add multiple widgets to the page?
The widgets for type 2 KIS will be different (although the embedding code will be the same) to that of a type 1, institutions will simply need to place the type 2 widget on their sites.
15. Will institutions be able to see what level of aggregation was reached for NSS and DLHE?
Each institution will be able to see this. Students will just see the course/subject area and how many years' data it covers.
16. Will the aggregation of the NSS data and the thresholds applied for KIS mean that the institution has to achieve a 50% response rate in both years, or 50% across the two years?
It is 50% across both years. Thus if an institution had an NSS response rate of 11 out of 24 in 2012 and 15 out of 25 in 2011 they would be published as 26 >=23 and 26/49 >= 50%.
17. Can the KIS aggregate across institutions?
Data will only be aggregated within a registering institution, but could cover more than one franchise institution.
18. What if a new course is replacing a very similar course, can a link back be made?
Data used will depend on CourseIDs/Learning Aims given. This will require an element of judgement by the institutions on the level of change and whether the link would be misleading. Even where there is no link then subject level information if available would still be aggregated and would include data from the old course.
19. Will the widget be horizontal or vertical?
Institutions will be able to choose the orientation depending on which best suits the layout of their web-site.
20. Which rolling items will be included in the widget?
- Staff are good at explaining things.
- Staff have made the subject more interesting.
- Overall satisfaction.
- Percentage of students in work or study after 6 months.
- Professional accreditation.
- Satisfaction with the support and guidance.
- Percentage in professional and managerial roles after 6 months.
- Accommodation costs (strictly 2 items upper and lower quartile but shown as one).
- Percentage of time over all stages in scheduled Learning and Teaching activities.
- Percentage of assessment over all stages that is through written exams.
21. Is there a way of flagging courses which are still subject to validation in the KIS and widget?
No, although it is expected that this would be clear from the institution's webpage. It is important to remember that the Unistats data is just one of the many sources, including institutional web pages, that students are expected to reference.
22. Will a smartphone version of the widget be made available?
HEFCE are not building a specific smartphone version of the site although we do expect the site and widgets to be viewable on mobile devices.
23. Is there a limit to the number of widgets that will be displayed on a University webpage?
No there is not.
24. How will the widget show written exam percentages and scheduled contact hours percentages?
This will be an average (mean) over all years of study.
25. Which NSS questions will be included in the KIS?
The following nine questions will form part of the KIS:
- Staff are good at explaining things.
- Staff have made the subject interesting.
- Feedback on my work has been prompt.
- Feedback on my work has helped me clarify things I did not understand.
- I have received sufficient advice and support with my studies.
- The library resources and services are good enough for my needs.
- I have been able to access general IT resources when I needed to.
- Overall, I am satisfied with the quality of the course.
- I am satisfied with the Students' Union at my institution
All other NSS questions will continue to be included on the Unistats site alongside the KIS.
1. Will there be an archiving facility to provide an audit trail of changes to the KIS once they have been published?
There are no plans to retain a full archive.
2. What checks will HEFCE carry out on the data?
HEFCE will conduct a number of validation checks but will not conduct credibility checks on the data. It is up to institutions to ensure the data are credible and the links between the KIS and NSS/DLHE data are correct. HEFCE intends to provide a number of tools and reports to aid institutions in checking their data. The precise checks have not been finalised but are likely to include reports showing the HESA course titles linked for each KIS, NSS/DLHE target populations, HESA courses not linked to any KIS, etc.
3. Will the KIS form a contract?
A group is currently working on the wording for the KIS web-site and will take legal advice to ensure that students' expectations are managed appropriately and that flexibility to develop programmes is preserved.
4. After the main site go-live, when can the data be updated?
After the submission deadline of 22 August 2012 until the site go-live (week commencing 24 September 2012) there can be no changes made to data. Once the site has gone live, HEIs can resubmit with updates provided they have been signed off each time. The site will then be updated on a weekly basis.
5. Who does the HEFCE extranet group key go to?
The contact nominated in response to the circular letter from HEFCE.
6. What sanctions are applied if institutions get the data wrong?
There is an update mechanism to correct things. If an audit finds errors and they are a cause for concern it'll be referred to QAA and institutions will be expected to correct the published KIS.
7. What format will the downloadable data be in?
Data will be in Excel initially; if there is demand other formats such as XML they may be added.
8. Can HEIs see all the raw data used to produce aggregated views in KIS?
No, not at the moment, much of the underlying student and DLHE data are already provided by HESA during the collection cycle. We are not able to provide NSS data at the individual student level due to the commitments given to respondents.
9. Is the zip file returned from HEFCE extranet to institutions password protected?
No. The website itself is https protected.
10. Will there be any penalties for the late submission of the KIS?
The KIS is part of the quality assurance process and as such is a condition of grant that all institutions must comply with. Ultimately if an institution did not provide the KIS they would fail QAA reviews. In common with any collection HEFCE may ultimately seek to collect the data themselves and deduct the cost of this work from the institution's grant. In addition to these direct penalties we would expect there to be significant reputational impact on any institution that was perceived to be denying students' information.