Improving graduate outcomes through better informed choices

Credit: Sir Cam

Research by Anna Vignoles and colleagues in the Faculty of Education improved graduate outcomes of over two million students a year in England by helping students and policymakers make better informed choices.

The team researched ways to measure the benefits of higher education (HE), both in terms of learning gains and subsequent labour market outcomes, with the aim of providing information to students and policymakers that might guide their decision-making.

Their research also showed the sizeable socio-economic gap in graduate outcomes, and resulted in the provision of information that will help to close the gap in outcomes of graduates from advantaged and disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds, improving social mobility across England.

The research has also provided universities with information to help improve their guidance and information practices, and the investment they make in supporting their graduates’ careers.

Research into student learning gains led to the development of a framework and measuring tool that informed Dame Shirley Pearce’s independent review of the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF), and the subsequent government response.

Research into the employment and earnings of graduates catalysed the creation of the Longitudinal Educational Outcomes dataset (LEO), downloaded by over 32,000 individuals. LEO data is used in the TEF, informed the Augur Review and more broadly has shaped government policy on graduate employment and focussed attention of universities on it.

“I have no doubt that Professor Vignoles’ work has had real world impact on higher education in England… she has developed a long-standing and trusted advisory relationship with the DfE [Department for Education] and BEIS [Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy] over a number of years.”

– David Willetts, Minister for Universities and Science