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

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