The Academy of Social Sciences responded to the OfS ‘new approach to regulating student outcomes’. This consultation covers outcomes within universities (like continuation from year one to year two; and completion/ graduation rates) and outcomes related to employment post-graduation. The aim is to set thresholds for all courses where failure to achieve minimum rates could trigger regulation. There is no ‘allowance’ for different student intakes or employment structures in different parts of the UK, though OfS says it will take these ‘contexts’ into account in any regulatory activity it undertakes as a result of the metrics.
AcSS welcomes the general clarity of OfS consultation and the thoughtful way it has set out its reasoning. We welcome the commitment to transparency in setting out the reasons for its choices of outcome measures, and of the data it will use. We welcome too the recognition that English higher education is generally high performing, and that regulatory intervention needs to justifiable and proportionate.
It is, however, very unclear how OfS will make judgements about the prioritisation for regulatory interventions based on the outcome measures, particularly on the ‘progression’ measure – employment after graduation. The AcSS response focuses on this outcome measure particularly, and its use as a measure of the quality of university teaching.