Now, more than ever, it is important that we understand the value that students obtain from their time studying at Higher Education Institutions. The purpose of the Learning Gain Project is to pilot measures for evaluating the extent to which students’ employability increases during their three years of undergraduate study.
In May 2015 the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) invited UK Higher Education Institutions to submit expressions of interest to participate in a range of pilot projects designed to evaluate methods of measuring ‘learning gain’. Learning gain is defined as the overall distance travelled by students during their time in higher education.
The University of Lincoln, in collaboration with the University of Huddersfield, was awarded funding for the completion of a three-year longitudinal pilot study. It was one of 12 pilot projects to be funded nationally out of 49 bids. At Lincoln, the research will focus on a cohort of students selected from the following academic schools:
College of Arts
School of History and Heritage
School of Fine and Performing Arts
College of Science
School of Engineering
School of Computer Science
School of Pharmacy
College of Social Science
School of Psychology
Lincoln International Business School
The project will focus on measuring learning gain using two methods:
• Student Self-Assessment
• A Situational Judgement Test
These will be administered up to three times during the student cohort’s three years of study. The first assessments will take place in February 2016 and will form the baseline for the ongoing analysis. We will also draw in in existing data held by PBIU and The SU.
The key aim of the project is to identify a successful method of evaluating learning gain that can be adopted nationwide.
In participating with the project students will gain the opportunity to reflect upon the employability skills that they are developing and to identify both their strengths and areas for improvement. Students will also be able to discuss the results of their self-assessments and situational judgement tests with their Personal Tutors and/or Careers Advisors. Students are encouraged to participate as situational judgement tests are commonly used in industry recruitment processes and early familiarity with the format is likely to be beneficial.
In addition, participation will allow students to influence the way in which learning gain is measured on a national scale in the future and to ensure that methods used are fit-for-purpose.
Only anonymised data will be published and test results will have no effect on student grades.
Updates and Announcements
May 2017 – 10 students were invited to participate in qualitative interviews to provide their feedback on their experience of participating in The Learning Gain Project. We are commencing analysis of the data collected.
We also ran 3 focus groups with Psychology students, one with each level of study (1,2 and 3) to discuss their views on their learning gain more broadly.
April 2017 –Level 2 students were asked to complete the self-assessment for a second time and when the administration closed on 7th April, 198 students had participated achieving a 75% completion rate.
Thank you to all who took part, your amazon vouchers have been emailed to you.
January 2017 – Our September 2016 administration was successful and initial data analysis has begun.
Workshops have been scheduled for the second administration for level 2 students; for Business on Monday 16th January at 12 noon and Pharmacy at 3.30pm. Students can find further details in their timetable. More workshops will be scheduled for other participating schools later this term.
We are also recruiting Learning Gain Student Ambassadors.
We are offering every student who completes both assessments for a second time £15 of amazon vouchers. In addition to this, eligible students will be entered into a prize draw for £100 of amazon vouchers if their college achieves a 70% completion rate.
September 2016 – Preparations are being made for approximately 600 level 1 students from Architecture and Design, Pharmacy and Psychology to be invited to participate in a new administration of assessments taking place during Welcome Week 2016.
Dr Linda Speight has been appointed as Data Analyst and will be in post from 6th September.
Discussions are underway regarding strategies for administering the assessments to level 2 students for a second time.
May 2016 – Our first administration has closed and 220 students who completed all elements of the project will receive £10 printer credits each.
In addition, students were entered into a second prize draw. The winner was Nicole Wright, congratulations!
We are now making arrangements for these students to take the assessments again in their second year of study and for a new cohort of students from September 2016’s intake to be invited to participate during Welcome Week.
April 2016 – 97 Students completed all 3 elements of The Learning Gain Project by 11th April and were entered into a prize draw.
The winner of the £100 Love2Shop voucher was Tatenda Chirikure. Congratulations!
To increase student numbers we have extended the deadline. Anyone who completes all 3 elements by 9am Tuesday 3rd May will be entered into a new prize draw for another £100 Love2Shop voucher which can be redeemed in a number of high street stores.
IN ADDITION: all students who have completed all 3 elements of the project (consent, self-assessment and situational judgement test) will receive £10 of printer credits by way of thanks.
January 2016 – Considerable progress has been made; student cohorts have been selected, a self-assessment test has been drafted and a platform for this identified. A number of providers of a situational judgment test have been assessed and the first project board meeting will be held on 26 January. First test administration is planned for February 2016.