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KIS research and development

A substantial programme of research and evidence-gathering has informed the proposals for the Key Information Sets.

Report on understanding the information needs of users of public information about higher education

Oakleigh Consulting and Staffordshire University carried out independent research into the information needs of users of public information about higher education (HE).

Approximately 2,000 potential and current HE students were involved in this work as well as sector stakeholders, higher education institutions (HEIs) and further education colleges (FECs), employers and representative bodies, and careers advisers.

The research considered:

  • what information is wanted and needed
  • the best modes of delivering that information
  • who should provide the information
  • how the information would support potential students in making their choice of where to study.

Read 'Understanding the information needs of users of public information about higher education'

Report on enhancing and developing the National Student Survey

The Institute of Education carried out research into enhancing and developing the National Student Survey in 2010.

This combined desk research, data collection from stakeholders, the testing of interim conclusions with relevant groups and individuals (including the Teaching, Quality and the Student Experience (TQSE) Statutory Advisory Committee and HEPISG), and liaison with HEFCE officers to establish policy implications.

It developed a series of recommendations related to improving the survey, enhancing opportunities for using the results effectively and ensuring the survey's continued vitality.

Read 'Enhancing and Developing the National Student Survey'

Consultation process

HEFCE, Universities UK and GuildHE published a joint consultation on public information about HE. This included proposals for:

  • giving prospective students useful information about HE courses
  • developing the National Student Survey
  • improving access to the information that higher education institutions publish about their courses and which is used for quality assurance.

The consultation received 215 responses from a wide variety of respondents.

During the consultation period two consultation events were held, and over 250 delegates attended.

Consultation on public information about higher education

Proposals that resulted from the consultation and next steps

Analysis of consultation responses

[ Download Public information about higher education: analysis of consultation responses as Adobe PDF 303K | Download Public information about higher education: analysis of consultation responses as MS Word 250K ]

Expert working groups

Four expert working groups were established to test the collection of data that are not already available nationally.

Each group focused on one of the following information areas:

  • learning and teaching activities and assessment methods
  • professional accreditation
  • accommodation costs
  • graduate salary outcomes.

Recommendations from the KIS Expert Working Group

[ Download Recommendations from the KIS Expert Working Group as Adobe PDF 58K | Download Recommendations from the KIS Expert Working Group as MS Word 63K ]

Institutional pilots

Institutions have not, before now, had to collate the information recommended by the expert working groups, so a pilot phase was conducted with eight institutions. They each looked at ways to develop a robust template, method and guidance for creating and/or collating the information items that were recommended by the expert working groups.

Pilot institutions were asked to:

  • focus on the processes needed to establish the creation of these data
  • identify and suggest solutions for any problems and challenges in managing the data flows
  • consider the practical and technical aspects of sourcing the data
  • consider how the data might be passed from the institution to the central body with responsibility for collating the KIS
  • ascertain whether there are any challenges for a particular subject or institution type
  • consider the costs and time required to achieve this task.

The pilot institutions were: Canterbury Christ Church University, Oxford Brookes University, University of Exeter, Harper Adams University College, Sheffield Hallam University, University of Oxford, Loughborough College and University College Birmingham.

Pilot group: findings and recommendations

[ Download Public information about higher education: analysis of consultation responses as Adobe PDF 111K | Download Public information about higher education: analysis of consultation responses as MS Word 79K ]

User-centred design of the Key Information Set

We commissioned the consultancy Pure Usability to develop the KIS through a process of user-centred design.

This looked at issues of interaction and presentation, including branding, to ensure that the 'end product' is as engaging as possible for users. It aimed to develop a distinctive identity, design and language suited to potential and current HE students.

It also aimed to establish a clear solution for the best possible way in which the KIS can be integrated with institutional web-sites. We will explore further some of the issues that this research has raised to make sure that the KIS in its final form meets the needs of prospective students.

Final report on user-centred design of KIS

Last updated 16 June 2011