MATCHING SUBJECT REVIEW RESULTS AND PERFORMANCE
The Agency has considered whether any valid
correlation could be made between non-continuation data contained
in the performance indicators published by HEFCE, and the graded
profiles published in the Agency's subject reviews.
Non-continuation data is published for whole
institutions, and by subject group for all institutions. Details
of the style of reporting used at the time the non-continuation
data were collected can be found in paragraph 72 of, and the appendix
to the Agency's main evidence.
The Agency reports on 61 subject groups (due
to reduce to 42). The performance indicators use 13 subject groups.
The larger number of groups can be aggregated to match to the
Each subject is reviewed once in an eight year
cycle (due to reduce to six years). Whole institution data is
accumulated over a cycle, whereas non-continuation data relates
to single years. Both types of data would have to be considered
over a whole cycle to enable any comparison to be made.
The main difficulty in making a correlation
is that the reporting categories used by the Agency did not identify
progression and an retention issues separately. Student Progression
and Achievement is reported on, and a grade given. However, it
would be necessary to go to the narrative of the report to assess
the extent to which the grading resulted from achievement, as
opposed to progression issues.
Similarly, Student Support and Guidance has
a single grading that covers academic progression, pastoral support,
and careers guidance. Again, the narrative would have to be consulted
to assess the relative contribution of each factor to the overall
Finally, assessment is reported on within the
Teaching, Learning and Assessment category. It is not uncommon
for a mark to be dropped on one element alone, so the composite
grade could not be taken as a proxy for performance in a single
element, the narrative would need to be consulted.
Those of the Agency's reports that are contemporary
with the HEFCE data on non-continuation cannot readily be correlated
to that data. A measure of subjective re-interpretation of the
reports would be required, so the validity of the comparison would
The Agency's new style of reporting places all
progression/retention issues in a single category of judgement.
Whilst care would have to be taken in matching data by subject
area and time of collection, some correlation should become possible.