Further delays for college success rate data

Revised versions of the 2010/11 Education and Training National Success Rate Tables (NSRT) have been delayed until August, according to the Data Service.

Widespread errors were found in the original NSRT, published on May 24, forcing the Data Service to take down and investigate the data.

A spokesperson for the Skills Funding Agency (SFA) then told FE Week they expected the amended versions to be published by the middle of June.

Delegates at the Lsect College Data Conference were then told by the Data Service  that the revisions would be publsihed in mid-July. However, the revised NSRTs are still unavailable.

The Data Service website now states: “Our investigation into this issue has determined that there is an error and we have therefore removed the reports temporarily.

“The revised reports, with details on the revision are expected to be available in August 2012.”

In the original NSRT nearly a quarter of all qualifications were showing an ‘unknown’ level, up from 2 per cent in the 2010/11 Qualification Success Rate (QSR) report.

Members of the College Management Information Systems (CMIS) network said the anomalies were “massive” and included BTEC qualifications and Access to HE courses.

The values also varied for similar qualifications from different awarding bodies.

Comparisons with the 2010/11 QSR reports showed a difference of 672,123 ‘unknown’ starts across all age groups and providers.

The number of ‘unknown’ starts also rose from 8,777 in the QSR to 546,295 in the NSRT for learners of all ages in general FE colleges.

Jerry White, head of planning and performance at City College Norwich, told FE Week he was “very disappointed” that the revised NSRTs had been delayed until August.

“Given that headline national averages were published for 2010/11 QSR in December 2011 as part of provider reports, I fail to understand the delay in publishing the data that underpins those averages in the National Success Rate Tables,” he said.

Colleges use the NSRTs – previously known as Learner Responsive National Success Rate Tables – to compare their enrolments and success rates data with other providers.

“I am sure City College Norwich is not alone in wanting to review our performance in detail against this national data in order to effectively undertake our annual self-assessment,” Mr White added.

“The delays continue to hold up the self-assessment process and will place added pressures on college staff who have been unable to complete the analysis of their data prior to the impending summer enrolment period.”