Wales Institute of Social & Economic Research, Data & Methods
Sefydliad Ymchwil Gymdeithasol ac Economaidd, Data a Dulliau Cymru

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Impact and Effectiveness of Widening Access to HE in Wales

SDAI_logo_MONO_copy.jpgTitle: Impact and Effectiveness of Widening Access to HE in Wales

Funder: ESRC and HEFCW

Start Date: 01 January 2013

End Date: 31 July 2014

Funding: £150,032.17 and £100,725

Research team:

Professor Gareth Rees
Professor Chris Taylor
Mr Rhys Davies
Dr Stephen Drinkwater
Ceryn Evans
Caroline Wright 

Overview:

The overall aim of the proposed research is to demonstrate the effectiveness of the secondary analysis of administrative data-sets to delineate patterns of participation in higher education (HE) and, thereby, to contribute to the development of policy and professional practice in widening access in Wales (and more widely). The project is based upon a collaboration between the Wales Institute of Social and Economic Research, Data and Methods (WISERD), the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (HEFCW) and the Welsh Government (WG).

More specifically, the objectives of the proposed research are as follows.

(i) To assure the quality of three linked administrative data-sets: the National Pupil Data Base (NPD) for Wales; the Lifelong Learning Wales Record (LLWR); and data from the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA). These data-sets will be made available by the WG.

(ii) To explore the potential for extending this resource through the linking of further data-sets (for example, income data held by the Student Loans Company).

(iii) To carry out - for the first time in Wales - a detailed descriptive analysis of the progression of individuals through compulsory education, into post-16 education and on to HE.

(iv) To use statistical modelling to uncover the most significant determinants of entry/non-entry to HE, comparing the influence of, for example, the social characteristics of individuals, their previous educational attainment and their progress through the educational system. This will replicate and develop further the analysis of equivalent data for England by Chowdry et al. (2010).

(v) To conduct fieldwork, comprising documentary analysis and semi-structured interviews with key actors, to establish trends of change in Wales's distinctive widening-access policies over time and to uncover their underpinning rationales. This will be done for both national-level policies and for implementation within the HEIs. This fieldwork will be resourced through additional funding from the HEFCW.

(vi) To use the secondary data analysis as a robust, evidence-based framework to evaluate the effectiveness of the widening-access policies adopted in Wales and of the approaches to implementation adopted within the HEIs.

(vii) To compare the effectiveness of the distinctive widening-access policies adopted in Wales with those in other parts of the UK and England, in particular.

(vii) To disseminate the scientific results of the proposed research through conference presentations and peer-reviewed publications.

(viii) Building on the collaboration between WISERD, the HEFCW and the WG, to establish effective mechanisms for knowledge exchange and transfer. The results from the proposed research will be fed directly into the deliberations of both the WG and the HEFCW on widening access that will be taking place over the coming few years especially intensively.

(ix) To undertake capacity-building activities with the professionals within the HEIs who have responsibility for implementing widening-access strategies, with the particular objective of integrating the analysis and use of secondary data much more firmly into their day-to-day practice.

 

Publications

The following Working Papers are intended to present initial analysis and findings. Please do not cite them without permission of the author(s).

2015

Rees G, Taylor C, Davies R, Drinkwater S, Evans C, Wright C. 'Access to Higher Education in Wales: A Report to the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales' (Available here - English and here - Welsh)

Wright, C, 2015. Retention in and progression through HE in Wales. Impact and Effectiveness of Widening Access to HE in Wales Working Paper Series1 – WAQNCW2015-1 (Available here)

2014

Wright, C, 2014. Widening Access to higher education in Wales: Analysis using linked administrative data. (Available here)

Rees G, and Taylor C, 2014. Evidence to the Review of Higher Education Funding and Student Finance Arrangements in Wales (Available here)

Davies R. and Wright C, 2014. Overview of the Widening Access Database Working Paper Series 1, WAQNCW2014-2 (Available here)

Evans C, 2014. What is ‘widening access’ to higher education? A review of approaches adopted by HEIs and colleges in Wales to ‘widening access’ to HE. Impact and Effectiveness of Widening Access to HE in Wales Working Paper Series 1 WAQLCE2014-5 (Available here)

Evans C, 2014. A review of approaches adopted by HEIs in Wales to evaluating widening access. Impact and Effectiveness of Widening Access to HE in Wales Working Paper Series 1 WAQLCE2014-6 (Available here)

Evans C, 2014. How is the Welsh Government’s widening access policy delivered on a regional level? Impact and Effectiveness of Widening Access to HE in Wales Working Paper Series 1 WAQLCE2014-8 (Available here)

Evans C, 2014. To what extent are institutional widening access strategies delivered on a departmental level? Impact and Effectiveness of Widening Access to HE in Wales Working Paper Series 1 WAQLCE2014-9 (Available here)

Evans C, 2014. Targeting ‘Communities First’ areas in Wales to widening access to higher education: how appropriate are the methods? Impact and Effectiveness of Widening Access to HE in Wales Working Paper Series 1 WAQLCE2014-11 (Available here)

2013

Wright C. 2013. Modelling Access to Higher Education: an evaluation of previous approaches. Impact and Effectiveness of Widening Access to HE in Wales Working Paper Series 1, WAQNCW2013-1 (Available here)

 

Presentations

Taylor C. et al. Learner Destinations: Evidencing Impact and Success in Widening Access to Higher Education. (Available here)

Evans C. Access to what? Widening access to higher education in Wales. (Available here)

Evans C. Approaches to widening access in Wales. (Available here)

Evans C. Widening access to higher education in Wales. (Available here)

Evans C. Evaluating widening access: A review of approaches adopted in Wales. (Available here)

Evans C. Approaches to widening access in Wales: Implications for policy and practice (Available here)

Evans C, and Wright C. Impact and Effectiveness of Widening Access to HE in Wales (Available here)

Rees G, Evidence presented to the Diamond Review of HE Funding and student finance arrangements in Wales (Available here)

Rees G, Widening Access to HE in Wales:some interim findings from a current research project - HEFCW SETQC (Available here)

Rees G, Widening Access to HE in Wales:some interim findings from a current research project - UALL (Available here)

Rees G, Universities, Civil Society and Citizenship (Available here)

Rees G, Universities, Civil Society and Citizenship - Building Bridges, Cardiff Met (Available here)

Rees G, Changing Inequalities and Access to a Differentiated Higher Education System:a Welsh perspective (Available here)

Rees G and Taylor C, Inequalities in Access to Higher Education (Available here)

Wright C, Widening Access to Higher Education in Wales: Analysis using Linked Administrative Data (Available here)

Wright C, The Determinants of Higher Education Participation (Available here)

Wright C, The Determinants of Higher Education Participation- SRHE Conference (Available here

WISERD Widening Access to Higher Education Regional Workshops (Available here)

 

Associated Work

Evaluation of the Education Maintenance Allowance and Assembly Learning Grant (Further education)

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