As part of the way we regulate quality and standards in higher education, we measure positive student outcomes using indicators defined at course level.
We realise, however, that introducing the LLE will have an impact on the measures of quality, particularly the shift to modular provision.
To inform our review, our call for evidence sought views about how we could measure student outcomes resulting from modular study.
This requested feedback in two main areas:
As we develop our approach in this area, we think that our policy aims in this context should be:
- protecting students by ensuring positive outcomes from study on a modular basis
- protecting taxpayers’ investment by ensuring a minimum level of quality, including outcomes, and minimising the potential for the mis-use of public funding by providers and students
- protecting the reputation of higher education in England during a period of change and growth in new approaches to delivery
- providing clarity and transparency about our regulatory approach such that registered providers can comply, innovate and grow
- ensuring we can take regulatory action where appropriate for individual providers that do not meet our minimum expectations.
We currently measure student outcomes by whether a provider is delivering positive outcomes above our minimum numerical thresholds for its students.
The thresholds are set for:
- Continuation: the proportion of students continuing on a higher education course.
- Completion: the proportion of students completing a higher education qualification.
- Progression: the proportion of students progressing to managerial or professional employment, or further study or other positive outcomes.
In the context of the LLE, we think that ‘completion’ is likely to be the most appropriate measure of whether a student completes the module on which they registered.
However, our current definitions of completion are based on course lengths longer than modules. So, we think that we will need to develop a different approach to understanding ‘completion’ for students studying on a modular basis.
We might also be interested in a measure of ‘progression’ – for example, whether a student goes on to study another module, to complete a qualification, and what happens to them after their study.
We are also interested in understanding better the data universities and colleges already use to understand student outcomes for modules and how that might change with the introduction of the LLE.