PODCAST: Gavin Williamson, fair assessment, skills

This week on the podcast we consider the fate of Education Secretary Gavin Williamson, and ask what ministers have to do to get sacked these days.

News and analysis of higher education from our leading team of wonks.

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This week on the podcast we consider the fate of Education Secretary Gavin Williamson, and ask what ministers have to do to get sacked these days.

There’s also a look at our new Skills to Thrive research, and a delve into the complexities of fair assessment during a pandemic.

With Sue Rigby, Vice Chancellor at Bath Spa University; Jonathan Simons, Director at Public First; Debbie McVitty, Wonkhe’s Editor; and presented by Jim Dickinson, Wonkhe’s Associate Editor.

Items this week

Correlate

The Office for Students has been looking at overall graduate wellbeing questions, but the source graduate outcomes data is also available from HESA at provider level. I’ve cross plotted the percentage of graduates from a provider that agree or strongly agree that their current activity is meaningful, against the size of the provider in terms of the total number of students.

What I’m wondering is whether a smaller, friendlier, human-scaled provider can help graduates find meaning in what they do. Is this the case – does it correlate?

The answer is no – there is no relationship. Positive responses to this question about finding meaning in what graduates do are mostly between 80 and 90 per cent for most providers – there are a few smaller outliers. As a sector, we should be glad that graduates are able to find meaning in their work after graduation – and it is interesting that there is little variation by provider. What little there is appears to be caused by differences in subject mix – some (but not all) arts intensive providers seem to suffer here.

Data is from graduate outcomes and the HESA student record – providers are shown when data is present for both fields, and I’ve omitted the Open University to make the graph easier to read. And where the data doesn’t exist – I’ve not plotted it.

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