The big news of the week was the publication of the Guardian league table, for students entering HE in 2014. This table is important for Staffordshire University, as improvement in this is one of the KPIs in our university plan. The Guardian table is the one we focus on, as we believe it most closely represents how we see ourselves as a university.
The good news is that we improved 4 places on last year, up to 92nd. Still a long way to get to where we were a few years ago, but we have hopefully now reversed the downward trend.
The rise in overall position appears to be attributable to:
- improvements in the three NSS factors;
- a reduction in student: staff ratio and
- increasing entry tariff.
Career prospects are lower than last year, as we also saw in the Complete University Guide, so this is not an unexpected result. Had this not decreased, then we could have been much further up the overall table.
Our value added score has also decreased, even though the number of good degrees awarded has risen, this has been accompanied with a slight increase in entry qualifications. This needs further investigation at subject level, and by considering other universities – for instance Oxford have a value added score of 7.3, and their entry tariff is considerably higher than us at 583. It would suggest that the value added score is weighted much more towards the number of good degrees, rather than the input tariff.
So far, Executive have been supplied with a quick analysis of how the university overall has performed, and how we have performed in comparison to others.
In the next couple of weeks, I will be working with Heads of Schools, Deans and Associate Deans to look in more detail at the subject tables, and to compare them with our own portfolio performance measures, Communications for all university staff will follow.
The most important thing to remember is that league tables aren’t “something that is done to us”. They are just a reflection of our performance. If we want to appear higher in the tables, then once we have dealt with any issues around data submission, then we need to address how do we improve our performance in student satisfaction, in attracting good students, and in ensuring that those students achieve the best that they can which will enable them to get suitable graduate employment.