New minimum standards guidance for post-19 training was published today, revealing a shake-up in how the Skills Funding Agency measures qualification success rates (QSRs).
It comes just days after providers submitted their ILR 14 returns amid reports of ongoing problems with the Hub, which is due to fully replace the online data collection (OLDC) next month.
Providers’ QSR performances will be based on data submitted in ILR 14 and, as reported by FE Week, the hub broke down at a critical time at least twice since it started being used in July. The SFA previously acknowledged problems in August for R12 returns and in September, when the hub broke down on the deadline day for R13.
Nevertheless, previously, providers’ QSRs were divided up into three categories — long, for courses of 24 weeks or more, short, for courses lasting two weeks to 24 weeks, and very short, those less than two weeks.
Today, the government guidance said the categories had been “simplified” — into 13 qualification types, including apprenticeship frameworks (which continue to have a 55 per cent success rate threshold), A-level (which continues at 75 per cent), AS-level (which continues at 63 per cent), awards, certificates, diplomas, English for speakers of other languages, Functional Skills and GCSE maths and English.
There will also be categories for other GCSEs, other non-regulated qualifications, other regulated qualifications and QCF units.
Providers face the SFA’s intervention process, including a visit from the FE commissioner for colleges, if they fail to reach the QSR thresholds.
The QSR document out today also revealed that the SFA was ready to look at including other data within its minimum standards that has already been the subject of a consultation.
“It is our intention to explore how we can include other measures within Minimum Standards from 2014 to 2015 following the recent consultation on Outcome Based Success Measures,” it said.
“This will take a wider view of success and recognise whether individuals make progress into further learning or into / within work.”
It added: “We expect colleges, training organisations and employers to review their results and proactively identify and address under performance and/or areas for improvement.”