Making a Difference with Data

A new AdvanceHE Connect Group titled ‘Making a Difference with Data’ has been launched today. This sector wide group will be led by an experienced team of institutional researchers and evaluators at Sheffield Hallam University, located within the Directorate of Student Engagement, Evaluation and Research.

This Community of Practice aims to support colleagues across the sector to develop an evaluative mind-set, with a focus on using institutional evidence effectively.

Sector requirements for an evaluative culture now require institutions to increase the scope and robustness of evaluation practice in order to align with a tighter regulatory climate. The purpose of this network is to extend the collaboration and support for evaluation and data confidence across the sector in order to enhance practice.

The overall aim will be to build participants’ capacity and capability for using evidence effectively to help diagnose issues and determine the impact of work.  This could include:

  • supporting leaders and managers who are asked to analyse strategically relevant data sets and provide evidence of the impact of activity. For example: differential student outcomes, retention and progression targets
  • improving the content and scope of internal quality enhancement processes leading to improved learning and teaching / student satisfaction. For example: Module Review, Departmental Review, and Periodic Review.
  • improving the content and scope of external quality assurance processes leading to improved national recognition of teaching excellence. For example: institutional and subject TEF narratives.
  • supporting core teams asked to collate and analyse strategically relevant data sets and provide evidence of the impact. For example: Access and Participation Plan, REF Impact Case Studies
  • supporting students to navigate their data landscape (See Austen and Jones-Devitt 2019). For example: students working within Students Unions/Associations as Officers or Students Representatives

Members will have access to high-quality resources produced by the network team, in addition to those created collaboratively by network members, which will create value for all users. There will be a particular focus on data confidence and sources of evidence including the discussion of ‘data dilemmas’ and how to develop ‘interventions with impact’.

In the forthcoming months, there will also be opportunity to engage in face to face / online training which aims to develop data confidence using a supportive and appreciative approach. This provision will provide evidence against UKPSF K5 (methods of evaluation) and V3 (use of evidence-informed approaches).

If you are a member of AdvanceHE, please do log in and join our network to gain access to our support and resources and make connections across the HE sector. Please visit the AdvanceHE Connect website which can be accessed by following this link