HESA Performance Indicators: More interesting than you’d think

HESA Performance Indicators: Summary tables and charts

HESA, the Higher Education Statistics Agency, has recently published its annual set of UK Higher Education Performance Indicators. See the HESA site for summary tables and charts.

One particular piece of data seems to have attracted attention – Non-continuation rates of full-time entrants after first year at institution. The details are noted here:

Table series T3 provides an indicator showing the proportion of entrants who do not continue in higher education beyond their first year. Table T3a provides this indicator separately for young and mature full-time first degree entrants to higher education.

In general, a higher proportion of mature entrants than young entrants do not continue in higher education after their first year. For full-time first degree entrants in 2009/10, the UK non-continuation rate was 13.3% for mature entrants compared with 7.2% for young entrants (sourced from table T3a). The non-continuation rate for young entrants was 10% or less at approximately 75% of institutions. For mature entrants it was between 2% and 20% at the majority of institutions.

and the summary chart for young entrants looks like this:

While there has been a small rise for young students, it doesn’t look significant and the higher rate for mature students is unsurprising. Whether it will change in future remains to be seen. The new funding regime could be predicted to have an impact either way on drop out rates.

Although the calculations are different it is interesting to compare the HESA data with the reports prepared by the Chronicle of Higher Educations on Graduation Rates and Data for 3,800 Colleges in the USA. They clearly have a problem with “missing” students.

There is plenty of other interesting data in the HESA tables. Well worth a look.


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