The Real Value of Education: Outcome Based Success Measures


I have written a few times on the topic of outcome based funding in the further education and skills sector. I have been following the topic with great interest for several years as the Government have steadily pushed towards building an ‘outcome responsive curriculum.’

So what is the latest development?

The Government has issued new proposals for developing a new set of outcome-based measures of performance for post 19 publicly funded education and skills. 

For the past few years 'success' has been measured by the number of learners achieving qualifications. However the report claims that this does not give an accurate representation of the true success in education and training.

 “Qualification achievement provides only a limited view of ‘success’; it is a proxy for the real value of vocational education and training,” commented Nick Boles, Minister for Skills & Equalities. 

What is the ‘real value’ of education and training? 

To put it simply - the whole reason for government funded education and training is to get people into jobs. Attaining a qualification does not necessarily mean that you will also gain employment. Therefore measuring success solely on qualifications is not proof that training is meeting this basic requirement.

By measuring which courses get people into jobs you can then calculate real success in education.

What will be measured?

The consultation proposes that performance should be based on:

  • Learner destinations (into employment or further learning)
  • Progression within learning
  • Improved earnings

How it will help

DataQuoteAs I have commented before – “You can't manage what you don't measure.” By measuring outcomes you can use this data to evaluate and improve the quality of training.  For example it would be easier to identify which courses:

  • Overcome a specific barrier to work
  • Help more high needs learners find work or progress
  • Have a real impact on career progression
  • Fill local and national job requirements
  • Target in demand skills

Better quality data on ‘success’ would offer the Government a greater understanding of the true impact of education and skills training. With this knowledge they would know which qualifications / training are worth funding to reach their goal of decreased unemployment and reduce ‘skills gaps’ in the workforce.

Have Your Say

“It is part of a journey of recalibrating the way we all think about success in adult vocational education,” said Boles, “This agenda will only gain tracking though if it engages everyone in the further education system: ambitious providers and training that gives learner the outcomes they need to succeed.” 

If you want to get involved the deadline for the consultation closes on the 10th October 2014 – find out more here 

How can you measure outcomes?

The Workpepper learner management system is already being used by FE colleges and training providers for outcome/ destination tracking. Find out more


More on outcome based measures in FE

Tor Macleod 12:15

Technology in FE: Tracking Student Progress A Priority


City & Guilds are on a mission to encourage a greater use of technology in the Further Education (FE) sector. Here at Macleod Associates we love technology and have to agree with them. We believe that technology can really help institutions to make the most of their provision. 

The new Technology in FE Special Report sets out to gain a greater understanding of how technology is being used in FE and where is it needed. City & Guilds asks how is technology being used within teaching, learning and assessment?

Overall the feedback from the sector is optimistic, FE practitioners recognise the benefits of different learning technologies and many are leading the way demonstrating innovative approaches to technology and learning. 

The Further Education (FE) sector is finally ready and willing to embrace technology.”  - Kirstie Donnelly MBE, UK Managing Director, City & Guilds

Here are some points that stood out:

79% believe technology has the power to positively impact teaching and learning.
Bringing learning and training to life in the classroom, providing online resources or using technology solutions to keep track of learners. Different technology solutions all play a role in improving the quality of learning in FE.

“Technology is an enabler not a replacement to great teaching.”
Technology cannot replace great teachers (unlike these predictions from the 1920's ) but is a tool to facilitate improved teaching and learning. Better tools help FE institutions to make the most of their resources and time to deliver improved training and learner experience.

75% say tracking students/progress is one of the main areas technology could be useful to them personally
With some FE institutions having thousands of referrals coming through the door, keeping track of and managing learners can be hard. (That's why we created Workpepper)

Strugglers and non-attenders can simply get lost in the system. Taking advantage of learner management technology can help practitioners to ‘take control’ of their data. Having access to accurate and up to date records can be used by managers to tutors to make more informed decisions. In short - you can’t manage what you don't measure.

For example:  With little time for personal tutors to be truly ‘personal’ – being able to quickly search for struggling learners could help tutors to use their time where it is most needed.

You Can't Manage What You Don't Measure

48% claim that being able to link up with other organisations, employers etc is one of the main areas technology could be useful.
With the Government focusing on employer led learning / curriculum as a the key to filling skills gaps, how could technology help to build better links with employers and other organisations?

Ways this could be used:

  • Giving employers limited access to learner records so that they can gain visibility on employees on your training programmes
  • Letting JCP or referral agents know what is happening with learners. Using tech to automatically alert them to non-attenders – especially when this could affect a learner's benefits.

Only 25% of FE practitioners have access to the cloud.
Everyone is talking about the Cloud but not everyone knows quite what it is. 

Building from our own experience delivering cloud based solutions to the FE sector, comments from our clients on the benefits of cloud technology include:

  • Can access from anywhere – on the move, on different campuses and locations and makes life a lot easier for tutors and managers
  • Being able to look up learner records and resources (ePortfolios, assessments, documentation ect.) from anywhere including lessons or tutorials
  • Can manage courses from any location
  • Ability to look up records and reports at meetings.

With 44% claiming that they do not use technology solutions because they are not available within their department. Cloud technology is key to ensuring that everyone has access to the same technology – all you need is an Internet connection.

As mentioned in a previous blog "data is your most important asset" - if you are considering Cloud technologies here are some great tips on choosing a provider: Top Security Concernss When Switching To the Cloud

The report concludes:

“It is no longer possible to do without technology in teaching, learning and assessment”

I recommend reading the full report: Technology in FE Special Report or check out this great infographic of the key points

Infographic Technology in FE
Source: City & Guilds

Tor Macleod 09:39

Patterns In UK Education & Training - Interactive Map

Explore employment levels and skills training across England and Wales with these great interactive maps. Using findings from the 2011 census the Office for National Statistics have mapped qualifications and employment in England and Wales to let you explore local and national patterns within the workforce.
Tor Macleod 11:52

Infographic: UK Employment At 30.43 Million

Labour market estimates from the Office for National Statistics contains the latest employment, unemployment and average earnings estimates for January to March 2014.


UK labour market statistics show 72.7% of those aged 16 to 64 are now employed. 30.43 million people are in employment for January to March of 2014, up 283,000 from October to December 2013 and an increase of a massive 722,000 on a year earlier.


The latest UK unemployment rate fell to 6.9%. From January to March of 2014 there were 2.21 million unemployed people, 133,000 fewer than October to December 2013 and a decrease of 309,000 from the previous year earlier.

Our latest labour market infographic gives an overview of the new statistics. (view full size)


Read the full Labour Market Statisics report: ONS Website

Please note: components may not sum exactly to totals due to rounding

Our Previous Labour Market Infographics

April 2014March 2014 | February 2014January 2014 December 2013November 2013 
October 2013September 2013 | July 2013 | June 2013 | May 2013April 2013 | March 2013
February 2013

Like this Infographic? - copy the code below to share it on your website.

<a style="border: none;" title="UK Labour Market May 2014" href=""><img alt="Infographic UK Labour Market May 2014" src=""></a><br/>Infographic by <a title="Macleod Associates" href="">Macleod Associates</a>

Tor Macleod 12:39

Skills & Employability Review Issue 14


Check your inboxes! Issue 14 of the Skills & Employability Review is out now.

What’s been happening this month in the busy world of Further Education & Skills? Here’s our recap of Aprils must read stories.

In this issue:

  1. FE Learner Choices Survey
  2. Apprenticeship Loans
  3. Our latest employment infographic & more.

Read Issue 14 online >

Join our mailing list to receive the monthly Skills & Employability Review by email.

Previous Issues

    • Issue 13 - Why Data Is Your Most Important, Funding Follows The Learner Journey & Online Delivery Data...
    • Issue 12 - Using Tech To Transform Education, The Skills Funding Statement & our new Labour Market Infographic…
    • Issue 11 - FELTAG & EdTech In The 1920's, FE Leaders React To Funding Cuts and our New Labour Market Infographic..

Issue 10 | Issue 9 | Issue 8 | Issue 7 | Issue 6 | Issue 5 | Issue 4 | Issue 3 | Issue 2 | Issue 1

Tor Macleod 07:09


Connect With Us

Twitter @macleodassoc Google + Email Us

Latest Blogs

Blog Archive

Blogs we follow