Does not compute

May 6, 2010

Your article on the Higher Education Statistics Agency's annual performance indicators rightly highlighted the strengths and weaknesses of its data ("Sector offers UK real value for money, v-cs claim", 22 April).

The creation in August 2007 of the University of the West of Scotland as a result of the merger between the University of Paisley and Bell College required the merging of data from two different student-information systems. As a consequence, the proportion of entrants shown as projected to obtain a first degree and "neither award nor transfer" in Hesa's report is known to be inaccurate.

This has also had an impact on the non-continuation data used to produce results for our institution in Hesa's 2007-08 publication. As a result, data for the West of Scotland have been excluded from the 2008-09 figures, which was acknowledged by Hesa. Its data also show that the university is one of the most inclusive institutions in Scotland.

Carolyn Davidson, Director, planning and MI services, University of the West of Scotland.

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