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Using data and evidence to understand, evaluate and improve student outcomes

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Colleges and universities gather vast amounts of data related to the student experience. Developments in data analytics offer powerful tools to improve student outcomes, but institutions can be unsure how to incorporate these effectively into their quality assurance and enhancement arrangements.

This workstream aims to get educators, planners, quality professionals and students to work together with SFC to ensure that this rich resource is more effectively used to evaluate and improve student outcomes.

Key questions

  • What data and evidence do we need (quantitative and qualitative) to assess effectiveness in the learning experience, academic standards and student outcomes?
  • What data will be most effective in driving change and improvement?

Lead agency

The lead agency for this workstream is the Scottish Funding Council.

Progress update

The co-creation workshops helped to develop a shared understanding of how data and evidence is currently used to inform and enhance the quality of the student learning experience.

Extensive discussions at those workshops highlighted the importance of considering data and evidence within the context of the individual institution and identified several key issues for further exploration including the potential for a unique candidate number that follows the student and the potential to create a distance travelled measure.

SFC is taking this work forward alongside the wider review of SFC’s Assurance and Accountability Approach, to ensure a streamlined and coherent approach that minimises the reporting burden on institutions. The final approach will be set out in the guidance on quality for colleges and universities for
AY 2024-25, to be published in Summer 2024.

Next steps

A cross-directorate team at SFC is using feedback from sector engagements to develop a set of key questions and associated data, that can be used to assess, manage, enhance, and report on academic standards and the quality of the student experience. Once this initial work is completed, further consideration will be given to how the key data set can be used to support institutions in completing the Self Evaluation and Action Plan.

SFC Strategic Plan 2022-27

Building a connected, agile, sustainable tertiary education and research system for Scotland.

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