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30 June 2022

Using data to identify risks and evidence outcomes: Key points from QAA’s Specialist and Independent Provider Network


Dr Kate Mori

Academic Engagement Manager, QAA

Natalja Williams

Membership Engagement Manager, QAA

Our latest Specialist and Independent Provider Network meeting focused on how specialist and independent providers are using data to identify risk and evidence outcomes. In this blog post, QAA's Dr Kate Mori and Natalja Williams highlights the key points from the meeting. 

Paul Talan, HE Head of Centre at David Game Higher Education Centre shared his institution’s approach to using learning analytics to develop an early warning system that identifies students who are struggling and therefore more likely to disengage before assessment. Utilising learning analytics has helped identify those students who may discontinue their studies and enabled systems and support to be put in place to help them overcome any difficulties or barriers they may be facing.


Glen Delahaye, Quality Assurance and Enhancement Manager at St George’s, University of London, discussed how their approach to annual monitoring has evolved, streamlining the volume of information needed from course teams and academics, which has resulted in greater ‘buy in’ to the process and clearer, precise documentation for monitoring committees.


QAA officers also kept members up to date with policy developments including the recent Department for Education (DfE) consultations on the lifelong loan entitlement and HE reform. In addition, we took the opportunity to celebrate the Skills and Post-16 Education Act being passed into law. QAA has been very active around the challenging issue of academic integrity and are very pleased that the Act criminalises essay mills and the advertising of these illegitimate services in England. Over 200 QAA members have signed up to our Academic Integrity Charter, representing the sector’s collective commitment to protecting and promoting academic integrity and taking action against academic misconduct. We are continuing to work with the DfE and the devolved administrations to discuss the issues around academic integrity and to discuss ways of ensuring the essay mill ban can be implemented across all UK nations.


Plans for next membership year


The Specialist and Independent Provider Network is now a firm part of our Membership offer. We will continue the conversation about using data for quality assurance and enhancement purposes into the next membership year, building on our existing activities around data and evidencing quality. The full outline of the membership offer for 2022-23 is available on our website, which includes exploring academic integrity in practice-based subjects, such as the creative arts.

What do our members say about the Network?


‘Really helpful to have a targeted QAA session for smaller specialist providers and especially useful to have examples of practice presented and workshopped.’


‘As a small HEI, we don't have teams of people working on government policies and consultation. The policy session, therefore, is really informative and keeps us up to date on issues.’

QAA’s Specialist and Independent Provider Network brings together QAA Members providing a platform to keep up to date with the latest higher education policy developments, discuss practice and share ideas with peers. The Network is part of QAA Membership and is only available to QAA Members. All staff and students from QAA Member institutions have access to the full range of resources we produce and share from the Network on our Membership Resources Site. If your institution is not a member, contact in time for the start of the next QAA Membership year commencing on 1 August 2022.