Very much like the British landscape, EMWPREP has been snowed under with work over the last two months.
At the start of March partners received their interim reports, which provided a useful insight into how they have met their outreach targets at this point in the year. Please note that the deadline for additional analysis or alterations is Friday 30th March.
Recently, Eliot Hudson-Jones and Emma Church were invited to HEFCE’s London offices to discuss the NCOP Q4 returns and future reporting. At this meeting they put forward points relating to sustained participation, and the lack of a definition, which is causing incomparable data from one consortium to the next. The next iteration of the baseline survey (from CFE) will be scheduled for September/ October.
EMWPREP has been working on a number of new data requests (DfE and HESA) to provide updated school profiles and latest progression analysis reports.
Recently we submitted our latest HESA request. The data extract should be available at the end of May and analysis will take place before the end of year reports in June/ July. This year’s report will be a more detailed analysis, compared to previous years. Any participants with version 5 consent or above will be matched to the HESA data and this will be added to the new database.
An updated school profile data request was submitted four months ago and has now been assigned an analyst. EMWPREP has been working alongside Aimhigher West Midlands to produce the application and ensure that the markers (used to target schools) are the same. EMWPREP has offered to work more closely with DfE, to help provide them with WP information for their performance tables.
A second DfE application for attainment data has also been submitted. For this application EMWPREP collaborated with HEAT, who shared the paperwork used for their successful DfE attainment request. By using similar arguments and asking for the same information, EMWPREP’s application should be successful; plus, it will enable HEAT and EMWPREP to compare their findings. Currently, HEAT’s analysis involves comparing the target group to a control group of students. The control group participants are those which have taken part in low intensity activity, whilst the target group have participated in multiple intensive activities. EMWPREP hope to be able to establish a similar comparator group using experience levels contained alongside participant records in the database.
Data Collection Forms
In line with the recent work on GDPR, we have been updating the data collection forms. All partners have been given the opportunity to comment on the new forms, which will be available to use from early April.
Partners will be provided with a suite of 4 forms to use:
- Mature Student
In conjunction with these changes to forms, we will also be making amendments to the participants section of the database. Once these changes are complete, we will be producing new user guides, which will be sent to all users by the start of May.
Interim Report Findings
At the start of March our institutions received their personalised 2017/18 Interim Reports.
The following results are key findings from the reports and are based on the WP funding stream:
- In total, 834 activities were conducted by our institutions, involving 40,481 participants. Of these activities 548 were Cat 1, and 286 were Cat 2.
- For all of the institutions, the HEFCE core activity type which had the largest number of activities and participants was ‘Information, Advice and Guidance’.
- The largest age group which participated in the institutions’ activities overall was Post-16 (including Mature and Vocational).
During the summer of 2017, EMWPREP carried out an evaluation of Higher Horizons+ two residential events ‘UNiFY’. The residential days were based on showing what life is like for a student in Higher Education (HE) and providing guidance and advice about the process of getting onto a higher education course.
The evaluation was based on participant feedback through three questionnaires – pre-residential, post-residential and follow up – and consisted of free text, likert scales and single choice questions.
Overall the results from the evaluation suggested that the residential days helped the learners to better understand HE and make more informed decisions regarding post-18 options. For example, from pre- to post- questionnaires, there was a significant increase (22.5%) in the number of participants saying they knew enough about HE to make a decision on whether to go. Also, the evaluation found that participants had developed their teamwork and communication skills whilst on the residential days. The follow up questionnaire revealed that some of the participants had since used these newly acquired skills at school.
For a more detailed report of the findings, please click here.
Neon Training Session Summary
Recently, Eliot attended the first two sessions of NEON’s ‘Access Academy Training – Evaluating Outreach Work’ workshops. The first session set the scene with regards to evaluation outreach work by giving a brief history of widening participation in Higher Education and exploring some of the evaluation challenges in the current WP landscape.
The second session focused on quantitative techniques, highlighting ‘weak’ and ‘strong’ research design:
- Data collection at only one time point
- Non-randomised groups
- Data collected at a nominal level
- Data collected pre- and post-intervention
- Randomisation of participants into treatment and control groups
- Outside variables accountability
The session also explored the use of statistics and the different ways to determine causality.
Over the next month, Eliot will attend the final two sessions, which will be covering qualitative research and the dissemination of research findings. EMWPREP News will provide a summary of these topics in the next issue.
Please here for the full training session summary.
Our Links to the News
Students from the poorest families are more likely to live at home whilst attending university. Although money is a contributing factor for commuter students, there could be other factors in play including part time jobs, caring responsibilities or not wanting to move from their local area. Students who stay at home can face additional stumbling blocks which can leave them feeling that they are on the periphery of the university experience.
‘Forgotten, isolated and ignored: the rise of the commuter student’
‘Do commuter students lose out?’
For those partners who are NEON members, nominations are currently open for the annual NEON Awards. The awards celebrate success in widening access to higher education (HE) work and, in particular, recognise the students who have progressed to HE from widening access backgrounds and how they made this journey.
The category for this year’s NEON Awards are:
- NEON Higher Education Institution of the Year Award
- NEON Students of the Year Award
- NEON Widening Access Initiative Award (Outreach)
- NEON Widening Access Initiative Award (Retention and Success)
- NEON Access School or College Award
- Neon Widening Access Partnership Award
- NEON Contribution to Widening Access Award
Click here if you are interested in finding out more, including how to make nominations. All nominations have to be made before 17:00 on 13th April.
If your institution is not currently a member of NEON, then please click here for information about subscriptions.
External Training and Conferences
5th April (Reading)
Supporting the Transition to Higher Study, Access to HE Conference 2018
24th April (London)
Partnerships for Change, Causeway Education Inaugural Conference
24th – 25th April (Cardiff)
QAA Annual Conference 2018, The UK Quality Summit: Delivering Impact through Innovation
26th – 27th April (Milton Keynes)
‘Is widening participation enough?’ 5th Open University Widening Participation conference
30th April (London)
Supporting BTEC Students’ Success Symposium
9th May (Leeds)
HEA Surveys Conference 2018
17th May (London)
Creative Approaches to Lifelong Learning, Universities’ Association for Lifelong Learning (UALL)
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