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Performance indicators are too narrow, study suggests

Performance indicators that show how universities perform against national benchmarks on widening access, student drop-out rates, and graduate employment, have been criticised for being too narrow and rigid in a sector-wide review.

The indicators, published annually, are seen by HE institutions and other stakeholders as valuable for providing evidence-based and independent measures of performance.

But research conducted by the Institute for Employment Studies and National Centre for Social and Economic Research found that many in the sector feel the indicators are too focussed on young full-time first degree home students, and fail to take account of the destination of leavers beyond six months after graduation. They also do not fully allow for variations in HE systems in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

A report on the findings, published by the Higher Education Funding Council for England, says performance indicators should be retained, but recommends a further consultation and review to explore possible changes.

Get the full picture from HEi-know: Briefing Report 117