Research and evaluation is at the heart of the HEAT Service and we regularly publish reports, for both our members and the public, based on our members’ dataset of outreach participants. We work with external agencies to match this dataset with educational outcome data. This matching allows us to gain insight into the student lifecycle, from school exam attainment through to Higher Education progression and subsequent graduation and employment. HEAT members can view the Service Schedule in the member’s area.
Member-level Tracking and Evaluation
HEAT members enjoy access to data and reporting from the HEAT Track, an ongoing longitudinal tracking study whereby outreach participants are tracked through a range of administrative datasets to provide data showing their educational outcomes. The tracking ‘jigsaw’ illustrates the educational datasets through which HEAT tracks participants, including the range of agencies through which the data are accessed.
Members receive three HEAT Track reports annually. These relate to the three main outcomes available for tracked participants: Key Stage 4 (GCSE) exam attainment, Key Stage 5 (A-level and equivalent) exam attainment and Higher Education progression.
Members receive datasets for each outcome, which can be linked to a Power BI template to view quick, interactive reporting. Please note that student-level data are not available for Key Stage 4 and 5 exam attainment, and this data must be aggregated by HEAT before being shared with members.
HEAT also works with member organisations to help improve evaluation design. Part of this is to support the collection of data for comparator and control groups. In the context of outreach, the challenge is often to find or create a comparison group that is as similar as possible in terms of characteristics to carefully targeted participant groups. The most robust evaluation designs draw on comparator groups that have been carefully selected prospectively, in advance of delivery. Data collected for comparator groups can be tracked by HEAT alongside that of participants, enabling comparison of outcomes when data are made available. HEAT have a range of resources providing guidance on selecting and collecting data for comparator groups.
Aggregate Research and Evidence
HEAT also draws on the longitudinal tracking data compiled by all HEAT members to produce evidence and insight into the impact of outreach at an aggregate level. We publish annual reports for members and the public which examine the impact of outreach on participants’ educational outcomes from KS4 through to employment. Please see our latest analysis examining the progression of outreach participants into Higher Education.
HEAT works on a number of projects, finding new ways to work with sector partners and to combine HEAT’s data with other data sources to add value by investigating themes such as the geography of outreach delivery, links between outreach delivery and educational outcomes, and the impact of nationally-funded outreach programmes. Please see our latest projects for more information.
Case studies and Bespoke Analysis
HEAT also works with members to evaluate their activities using data supplied through the HEAT Track. HEAT can add value by bringing expertise and knowledge of evaluation methods, as well as familiarity with HEAT’s data, to help produce high quality robust evaluation.
We are building a library of evaluation case studies to be shared within the membership. These case studies are activity-level and therefore provide some evidence of what has worked in what context but also show how HEAT’s tracking data and reporting can be used in an optimal way.