We have identified that an error was present in the latest releases of National Student Survey data, which includes data from the 2020 and 2019 surveys.
The error affected the provider benchmarks that are used in the visualisation of the data, and also included in the workbooks '2020 NSS summary data' and '2020 All questions benchmarked by teaching and registering provider'. The error was present in the initial release of the data in July 2020, and in subsequent updates. The error does not impact actual provider results.
The error occurred because in a small number of cases, we failed to incorporate some data about student characteristics, such as ethnicity and age. As a result, some of the provider benchmarks which draw on this data were incorrect. We classify providers’ results as either above benchmark, below benchmark or not significantly different from benchmark. In a minority of cases, this classification was incorrect due to the incorrect benchmark.
The error mainly affects providers who returned their students in the HESA Student Alternative record. In this new release, we have corrected the error. We have also published a list of the provider results which have seen a change in their classification against the benchmark. We encourage users of the data to review this list.
We are reviewing our processes to understand how this error occurred, and to prevent it happening in future.
This error has also had a very small impact on the sector characteristic analysis. We published a corrected version of this statistic on 24 March 2021.
We apologise for the inconvenience caused.
NSS statistics: correction to benchmarks March 2021