Analytics Labs Update Summer 2018

It’s been a busy time on the Analytics Labs front. Here’s what’s been happening recently.

Our second cohort of 2017/18 ran from February until May and we had 5 teams (43 participants from 38 higher education providers) working away on some interesting themes that provided some excellent proof of concepts to demonstrate to sector peers and experts at the Showcase event in Manchester.

All demonstrations were provided with feedback by a panel of experts and a traffic light score was used an interactive voting app. Red = Do NOT take forward, Amber = Has potential for further development, Green = Would enhance Community Dashboard profile.

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Teams and Themes:

Grade inflation/grade improvement

A subject that is being hotly debated in the sector currently. Team members worked on “An analytical exploration into time series trend of degree classifications awarded with emphasis on recent claims of grade inflation versus other possible explanations”.

The team Immersed themselves into this theme and designed dashboards and visualisations that modelled impacts for a range of roles from prospective students to vice chancellors.

During their time with the team participants liaised with Universities UK on their work in this area and reported to the DfE on the activity. An example of the potential reach of some of the Analytics Labs work.

Feedback on the day for the four visualisations demonstrated by the team provided an average of 86% of those voting felt they had potential for further development or would enhance the current community dashboard portfolio.

A-level/equivalent take-up trends and applicant quality

Here the team looked at the theme from the perspective of a faculty/school/programme manager and a recruiter – considering both the viability of what was on offer and the recruitment pipeline and future strategy.

The panel commented on the potential of the outputs to save an enormous amount of time and effort in course design and the possibilities offered around recruitment.

Feedback on the day for the eight visualisations demonstrated by the team provided an average of 92% of those voting felt they had potential for further development or would enhance the current community dashboard portfolio.

Opportunities to enhance PG experience with a focus on Admissions

The team took the perspective of a Departmental or Admissions Manager assessing recruitment and admissions positions and actions and a Senior Manager predicting future intake/income and deciding strategy accordingly.

The panel commented on the impressive work that had been done here especially in looking at the PG experience.

Feedback on the day for the seven visualisations demonstrated by the team provided an average of 78% of those voting felt they had potential for further development or would enhance the current community dashboard portfolio.

Degree outcome and attainment by entry qualifications and BAME and WP indicators with ability to assess at TEF subject level.

This team looked at a Director of Planning monitoring value-added outcomes over time, a senior manager assessing degree outcomes across the range of students and backgrounds, and a student support manager allocating resource for student interventions and support.

Panel members were impressed and wanted to see how this area could be further explored.

Feedback on the day for the four visualisations demonstrated by the team provided an average of 89% of those voting felt they had potential for further development or would enhance the current community dashboard portfolio.

Alternative providers

We welcomed our first team made up of colleagues from alternative higher education providers.

The team was keen to provide an overview and introduction of alternative providers ‘a meet the APS’ dashboard was a key output of their work. They also looked at a range of roles including policy maker looking at their institutional offering and related funding and marketing targets, a planner benchmarking with other institutions, a marketing officer looking at marketing campaigns.

The panel were once again impressed by the outputs from the team and comment was made that this experience provided the chance to ‘open the door’ on the alternative provider experience and build on understanding and the potential for collaboration across the sector.

Feedback on the day for the four visualisations demonstrated by the team provided an average of 95% of those voting felt they had potential for further development or would enhance the current community dashboard portfolio.


Recruiting for cohort starting in Autumn

The showcase was the culmination of another three months of fantastic efforts by colleagues from across the sector. We also kick-started another Analytics Labs that is working as we speak and will be reporting back at a Showcase in Manchester on 18 October. We will be starting our Autumn cohort at that event – are you interested in getting involved? If so, watch this space, we’ll be telling you how to apply in the next few days.

Latest Analytics Labs cohort complete

The first Analytics Labs teams of 2017/18 have just completed their 12 weeks of agile dashboard development. Participants (35 from 27 HE organisations) presented their work at a showcase event in Manchester on 7 February. Using the unique supported approach and secure data processing environment, teams have been developing their data and analytics skills, and creating potential future dashboards for the sector on topics including:

  • Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) Metrics, including comparison of Research Excellence Framework outcomes with TEF outcomes, and impact of TEF on recruitment, grade inflation and destinations of leavers.
  • Career Calculator and Market Gap Analysis, to help identify career pathways for students and gaps in the market to inform future course development.
  • Student retention and campus connectivity, linking London specific data such as Transport for London and crime data with to identify trends in student retention and causes for students to drop out.
  • Sickness absence, workforce age and student growth and careers & diversity. A dedicated UHR (Universities Human Resources) and UCEA (Universities and Colleges Employers Association) team explored sickness absence in HE and the ability to benchmark institutions against the wider sector. They also explored the correlation between teaching staff age and student growth, and gender and ethnicity split across the sector in the context of career progression.

Dashboards were well received by the audience of peers and panel of experts from Jisc, HESA and the Community Dashboards’ Strategic Advisory Group on the day – those deemed most valuable to the sector may be released into the community for evaluation as Community Dashboards Beta. Selected beta dashboards will be fully quality controlled and polished before release as full Community Dashboards for use by the wider sector.

The experience of attendees has once again been positive, with indviduals describing their time with Analytics Labs as ‘amazing’, ‘satisfying’, ‘enjoyable’ and ‘motivating’. Participants also noted that they had developed and honed skills and knowledge that could be applied to their work roles. This feedback builds on the responses to the Labs’ experience that we have been inspiring since the first teams took part in 2015.

The event was also an opportunity for outgoing teams to meet the new teams starting their Analytics Labs journey this week – more on the themes they will be exploring will be posted here soon.

Does Analytics Labs sound like something you’d like to be involved in in the future? Then email us to register your interest