Does your campus measure up?

December 3, 1999

http:/// Universities and colleges can measure how well they perform against benchmark figures forthe sector as a whole in areas including widening participation by under-represented groups, drop-out rates and projected learning outcomes and efficiencies.

The THES has looked at the percentage difference between each institution's performance indicator and its benchmark and ranked them in the tables below.

The tables list those universities and colleges that have performed better or worse than expected and have more than 1,000 students in the relevant category.

Four performance indicators deal with widening participation by under-represented groups. For full-time young undergraduates, the indicators are: percentage from state schools, percentage whose parents are from lower social classes, and percentage from residential areas which are under-represented in higher education. The THES has attached particular importance to the latter since the Higher Education Funding Council for England now pays a 5 per cent premium for students who come from residential areas that are under-represented.

For mature students, the indicator is the percentage from a residential area that is under-represented and those who do not already have a higher education qualification.

For drop-out rates, the indicator used is those full-time first degree young students who dropped out within a year of starting a degree.

The drop-out indicator is tempered by the projected learning outcome, which shows the percentage of students who should eventually gain a degree.

The different structure of higher education north and south of the Scottish border means that some of the Scottish figures need to be treated with caution. The figures cover higher education institutions, not higher education provision, almost a fifth of which is in further education colleges in Scotland.

Around 40 per cent of young Scots going into higher education for the first time attend colleges. Around half of Scottish school-leavers go into higher education compared to only a third for the rest of the UK.

The Open University's Scottish provision comes under the English figures in the new performance indicators. But the OU in Scotland is responsible for about a third of Scottish higher education institutions' part-time provision, and 9 per cent of part-time provision in Scotland overall.

The OU's Scottish figures may be devolved in future years - ministers have already agreed in principle that its funding for Scottish students will come through the Scottish Higher Education Funding Council, probably from 2000-01.

About a third of young people in the UK live in "low participation" areas.Some 16 per cent of young full-time entrants to higher education in Scotland come from these areas, as do 16 per cent of mature full-time entrants to Scottish higher education institutions.

Some 16 per cent of young and 5 per cent of mature part-time entrants to Scottish higher education institutions also come from low participation areas.

Nationally, 9 per cent of young and 16 per cent of mature entrants to Scottish higher education institutions are no longer in higher education after a year.

The Scottish Higher Education Funding Council took a decision, backed by the Committee of Scottish Higher Education Principals, that it must have a UK-wide set of information, said John Sizer, chief executive of SHEFC.

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