Arriving shortly: An update on HESA’s New DLHE review

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The final round of consultation as part of HESA’s New DLHE review of graduate outcomes data has now closed, and we have been given a broad mandate to proceed to implement our model.

We received over 180 responses from across the sector and are incredibly grateful for the level of feedback we have received. We are only just beginning to dig through the detail of the responses, but we are impressed by the thoughtful and considered nature of responses. Responses show that we have been given a mandate to deliver NewDLHE. We received strong support for our proposed survey design (over 80% in favour) and implementation plan (over 70% in favour), and solid support for the survey practicalities including the open centralisation methodology (over 60% in favour). The financial model feedback was more mixed – it received more support (34%) than opposition (24%), but the majority of respondents suggested they did not have enough information to comment.

What comes next?

We are now analysing the consultation responses, and using these to develop and refine the model, ensuring we maintain and build on this mandate. We will be continuing to engage with key stakeholders over the next couple of months, to ensure we get the input needed from across the sector. A final version of the model will be published in June alongside the full consultation response analysis.

The only exception to this will be further details of the financial implications. This is the area we had the most significant feedback on, as many respondents felt they needed much more detail before making informed comment. We’re going to be focusing on this in the coming months, and will be publishing a more developed plan separately from the final version of the model.

From design to implementation

Through the NewDLHE review we have gained substantial feedback on key principles behind what data we should be collecting and how we should be collecting this. In moving from the design phase to the implementation phase, our role is to understand how to turn these principles into practice.

These are not strictly two distinct phases, as there will be some degree of crossover over the next two months. The publication of our final model in June will mark the end of the review and we will then progress fully into the implementation phase. We now want to ensure that HE providers have certainty over the implications of the review outcomes, and to enable them to start reviewing their systems and processes. June will mark the start of us publishing operational support materials to assist with the transition to the new survey. In the meantime, we’re going to be publishing rolling FAQs over the next few weeks, publishing answers to the questions you’ve raised section by section.

Implementing alternative measures of graduate outcomes

Moving from design to implementation will not be without its challenges. A case in point is the new graduate voice measures. We have gained significant support for the principle that, to understand graduate success, we need to be collecting measures that go beyond salary and occupational classification. We have developed questions that will let us learn more about what graduate success means to individuals. These questions ask graduates to rate whether their activity is meaningful to them; whether they are utilising their skills; and whether they are on track towards their future goals.

To ensure successful implementation of these measures, we’re going to put them through rigorous cognitive testing and development based on feedback we’ve received to the consultation. We want to ensure that we are getting the best quality data from these questions, so that they will stand up to other measures. We will also be investigating ways that we can publish these measures, through experimental statistics in the first instance, to ensure they have a high profile. We anticipate this will address the entirely fair concerns from some, such as Andrew McRae, who have wondered whether the ‘idealism’ behind these measures may be whittled away.

Of course we aren’t solely responsible for ensuring these measures will be utilised. This is dependent on wider sector uptake of the data. What we will be doing with these measures, and all the other aspects of the model, is ensuring that we collect and publish high quality, meaningful data in ways which are widely accessible and high-profile.

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