Key Information Sets

Key Information Sets (KIS) are comparable sets of information about full or part time undergraduate courses and are designed to meet the information needs of prospective students.

From September 2012 all KIS information will be published on the Unistats web-site and will also be accessed via a small advert, or ‘widget’, on the course web pages of universities and colleges.

Prospective students will be able to compare all the KIS data for each course with data for other courses on the Unistats web-site.

Aims of the policy

The development of Key Information Sets (KIS) forms part of our work to enhance the information that is available about higher education. It will give prospective students access to robust, reliable and comparable information in order to help them make informed decisions about what and where to study. 

It will contain information which prospective students have identified as useful, such as student satisfaction, graduate outcomes, learning and teaching activities, assessment methods, tuition fees and student finance, accommodation and professional accreditation.

It’s the first time this kind of data has been brought together in this way, providing information to students in a format that is useful to them, in the places they want to find it. 

In order to inform the development of KIS we have:

  • researched the information needs of prospective students
  • consulted the HE sector
  • carried out user testing to determine the most appropriate way of publishing the information
  • asked expert working groups to determine the definitions and categories of information included in the KIS
  • carried out pilots with eight universities

More information on the KIS research and development

What courses does it cover?

  • All full-time and part-time undergraduate courses planned for 2013-14 in institutions which subscribe to the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA).
  • Undergraduate programmes taught through further education colleges in England and Wales (this applies to colleges funded indirectly through a higher education institution and for courses HEFCE funds directly).

The only exceptions are short courses (one year full-time equivalent or less), postgraduate courses, those delivered wholly overseas, and closed courses. 

What’s happening now?

Universities and colleges are currently supplying KIS data to the HEFCE extranet by 22 August 2012 and preparing to embed the KIS widget into their course web pages by 31 October 2012 (see actions for universities and colleges).

The new Unistats website will be launched week commencing 24 September 2012. It will replace the current Unistats website.

Further technical guidance for universities and colleges can be found on The Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) web-site.   

Accessing the data

After the launch of the web-site in September, anyone wanting to use the full dataset will be able to access the data in one of two ways:

  • via an application programme interface (API) allowing third party users to use the data for their own purposes
  • as an XML download which will be updated on the same rolling schedule as the main site.

For private providers

Information for private providers who might want to access and use the KIS data, is in the update below. We will give a further update when our plans are finalised to provide full technical details of the two dissemination methods above.

Update

Download the Update for private providers as PDF (24 KB) | Download the Update for private providers as MS Word (59 KB)

Schema for KIS outputs

The XML schema below provides code that describes the full Unistats site data. 

Download the Schema for KIS outputs as XML (99 KB)

Previous publications

What the KIS contains

The KIS contains 17 items.  Much of the KIS information already exists in a national and comparable form, but there are several items of information that do not currently exist in that form and are being supplied by universities and colleges (highlighted in the table below).

Information items for publication in the KIS

Source of this information

Level of this information

For the September 2012 KIS, information will relate to:

Study

Results from the following NSS questions: 

  • Staff are good at explaining things
  • Staff have made the subject interesting
  • Overall, I am satisfied with the quality of my course
  • I have received sufficient advice and support with my studies
  • Feedback on my work has been prompt
  • Feedback on my work has helped me clarify things I did not understand
  • The library resources are good enough for my needs
  • I have been able to access general IT resources when I needed to

HEFCE to draw from the NSS

Course level or aggregated

2012 NSS results

Proportion of time spent in various learning and teaching activities – by year/stage of study, with a link to further detail

Institution to provide to HEFCE

Course level

Typical student path

Proportion  of summative assessment by method – by year/stage of study

Professional, statutory and regulatory bodies that recognise this course, details of the type of recognition with a link to further detail

Planned for academic year 2013-14

Costs and financial support

Institution owned/sponsored accommodation: average annual costs – upper and lower quartiles, and number of units (to which students can reasonably expect to have access) 

Private rental accommodation: average annual costs – upper and lower quartiles

Institution to provide to HEFCE

Institutional level

Academic year 2012-13

Financial support available from the institution: whether it offers a fee waiver; means-tested support; non means-tested support; National Scholarship Programme; and a link to more detailed information

Institution to provide to HEFCE, for courses that do not recruit through UCAS. For courses recruiting through UCAS data will be sourced from UCAS

Course level

Planned for academic year 2013-14

Average fees (excluding fee waivers) per year by country of UK domicile  

Institution to provide to HEFCE, for courses that do not recruit through UCAS. For courses recruiting through UCAS data will be sourced from UCAS

Course level

Planned for academic year 2013-14

Employment and salary information

The destinations of graduates six months after completing their course – comprising working, studying, working and studying, unemployed, and not available for work

 

HEFCE to draw six-month figures from the Destinations of Leavers from HE (DLHE) survey and 40-month figures from the Longitudinal DLHE survey

Course level or aggregated

2010-11 DLHE and 2010 Longitudinal DLHE results

 

Of those in employment, the proportion in managerial/professional jobs six months after graduation.

Salary data for those in full-time employment:

  • upper quartile, median and lower quartile six months after graduation from the course at the institution displaying the KIS
  • regionally adjusted upper quartile, median and lower quartile for the subject across all institutions six months after graduation
  • regionally adjusted upper quartile, median and lower quartile for the subject across all institutions at 40 months after graduation

Students’ union

Additional question to be added regarding satisfaction with the SU

HEFCE to draw from the NSS

Institutional level

2012 NSS results

‌Institutions’ web pages

To allow prospective students to discover the KIS in context, universities and colleges will embed a small advert or ‘widget’ into their course web pages. This will highlight key information about that course and provide a direct link to the full list of key information on the Unistats web-site.

This is a graphic illustrating the widget but please note that the look and precise phrasing used on this example might change.

The widget up to ten areas of information on a ‘rolling’ basis. This will cover:

  • Are staff good at explaining things?
  • Have staff made the subject more interesting?
  • Overall satisfaction
  • Percentage at work or study after six months
  • Professional accreditation
  • Satisfaction with the support and guidance
  • Percentage in professional and managerial roles after six months
  • Accommodation costs
  • Percentage of scheduled learning and teaching activities
  • Percentage of coursework

The KIS ‘widget’

Both a vertical and horizontal version of the widget will be available.  Widgets must be made available on institutions’ websites by 31 October 2012.

Further technical guidance for institutions on how to embed the widget is available on The Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) web-site

Actions for institutions

1) Supplying the data

Much of the KIS information is already collected at a national level and is available to compare. Some information is not currently available (see the 'What the KIS contains' tab) and universities and colleges are currently supplying this to HEFCE via our extranet. 

All data must be uploaded by 22 August and a site preview will be made available to universities and colleges in the
week beginning 17 September. 

The KIS on the new Unistats web-site will go live on the week beginning 24 September. 

2) Embedding the widget

Widgets must be made available on institutions’ websites by 31 October 2012.

Further technical guidance for institutions is available on The Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) web-site.  

Governance

We are working in partnership with the other UK funding bodies, UUK, GuildHE and the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) to deliver the KIS.

We receive guidance from the Higher Education Public Information Steering Group and their Sub-Group which is working to develop the wording for the new Unistats web-site. 

The quality of the information

The Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) will consider the quality of the information as part of its broader commitment to ensure universities and colleges provide information for their intended audiences.

The QAA has set out the standards of academic quality it expects universities and colleges to deliver in the UK Quality Code. Part C of this code covers providing information about higher education programmes.

The QAA will review the quality of information in the KIS as part of its process of institutional review.

Evaluation and review 

An early evaluation will seek to determine the practical success of the Unistats/KIS in its early stages.  It will cover three distinct strands:

  • the user experience of the KIS widget, the KIS and the new Unistats website
  • the process from HE providers’ perspectives
  • a data audit. 

Page last updated 12 July 2012

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