Skip to main content

Response rates

These are our responses and clarifications to issues raised in our consultation about achieving high response rates.

What impact will the new survey point have on response rates, is 70% an achievable target?

We are aware of the challenges in achieving a 70% response rate.

We will work with the survey contractor to develop a robust communications plan to support the achievement of high response rates. This plan will include a range of central activities as well as the provision of resources to support local communications activity.

We will also maximise response rates through:

  • Utilising best practice in survey design
  • Utilising technological advances
  • Personalisation of the survey and contact methods to each provider
  • Maximising the use of linked data to avoid asking questions which are seen as intrusive (such as salary) and to ensure the survey is kept brief.
On what basis have you calculated that Australia’s 39% response rates can be extrapolated to a 70% response rate with the addition of calling?

Australia achieves 39% response rates solely through online questions. HESA currently (for 2014/15 data) achieves 61% of responses via calling. 70% would allow for a 30% dip in response rates via telephone due to the change in survey timing, if we were to match Australia’s online rate at 12 months. We think this is achievable, due to predicted boosts in online responses brought about by advances in survey technology.

We have some concerns around whether a 70% response rate is actually achievable. Will this be reviewed after the first year of collection? And is 70% overall or by student group?

Having investigated response rates, we believe 70% is achievable. This will be kept under review through the first, and subsequent, collections by the steering group. 70% is for UK domiciled undergraduates who studied full time. Target response rates will vary for other groups such as international graduates.

The consultation states response rates must be above 70% per provider, if this proves unachievable at 15 months will there be a pilot phase with lower rates accepted or will the timing be reviewed?

It is vital we achieve high response rates across providers and we will be taking steps to ensure we reach these. This is to allow the data to be analysed in the ways the sector requires. We will evaluate exact specifications after the first year, but we have no reason to believe the 15 month survey point prevents high response rates.

Understanding where responsibility will lie between HEIs, HESA and the contractor in relation to the response rate target of 70%. If one HEI misses this target which of the three stakeholders are responsible?

Providers are required to maintain high quality contact details, in order to ensure the likelihood of high responses. A specification will be published for these contact details. The steering group will set out exactly where the responsibilities lie, but the majority of responsibility will sit with the survey contractor.

Will salary data only consider those who responded to NewDLHE, or will it include any graduate in the whole population for whom it is possible to derive this data? And would such a response count towards our third party total?

LEO data is available for all graduates, regardless of whether survey data has been returned. Where we only have salary data, this isn't counted towards the 70% response rate. 

If an institution does not reach the required 70% response rate, are HESA planning to use the pre-filled linked data for sector analysis, or will this data be discounted?

Linked data is available for all graduates, regardless of whether they have submitted a response to the survey. The availability of linked data will not determine the response rate, as the response rate is for survey data. We are still determining the exact formats for our published outputs

What will the thresholds for the use of third party data be (used after extensive attempts to contact graduates have been made)?

These will be applicable at a limited level. Details will be specified through the implementation phase.

Will responses be accepted from (Employability) units within the faculties who often have ongoing contact with the graduate as well as from individual academics?

Yes, institutional responses are permitted as long as these can be evidenced. We will only allow such responses to limited levels.

If institution x delivers a response rate of 70% and institution y delivers a response rate of 80%, institution y’s Graduate Destination Score will most likely be (negatively) affected by this extra 10%. Will there be a cut off at 70%?

The response rate will be a minimum of 70%, rather than this being a cut off point. Providers shouldn't be disadvantaged by higher response rates, as we will ensure fair spread across courses/personal characteristics.