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The government's announcement of a major review of the National Student Survey signals a worrying shift in the HE regulatory landscape, warns Jon Scott, higher education consultant and former Pro Vice-Chancellor (student experience) at the University of Leicester.
Statements from ministers this week have made it clear that higher education in England is facing significant reforms, re-setting its focus towards helping to plug the UK's skills gaps and rebuilding the economy. Fariba Soetan, Policy Lead for Research and Innovation at the National Centre for Universities and Business, argues that the proposed changes bring a welcome focus on graduate outcomes and supporting the careers of young people.
Ten universities are to take part in the first pilot of a project design to measure how well student learn and what support their institutions provide.
The Higher Education Funding Council for England project will pilot a combination of methodological approaches to measuring learning gain, with the help of undergraduate students at Anglia Ruskin University, Bishop Grosseteste University, the University of Greenwich, the University of Hertfordshire, the University of Hull, the University of Kent, the University of Leicester, the University of Liverpool, the University of St Mark and St John, and the University of Wolverhampton.
In each year of their studies from 2016-17 to 2019-20, participating students will be invited to complete an assessment, which will explore their critical thinking and problem-solving skills, attitudes towards their study experience, and engagement with their studies.
As part of the wider programme of work on learning gain, HEFCE has already funded 13 institutionally led pilot projects. This programme of work is contributing to ongoing debates about the quality and impact of higher education, and how to evidence students’ wider learning.
A detailed overview of the NMMLGP will be presented alongside findings from the first year of work within the learning gain pilot projects on Thursday 10 November at the HEFCE National Conference on Learning Gain.
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