Evaluation of the Plan

The University is committed to developing the strongest possible evidence to inform the evaluation of the impact of the intervention strategies. The Access Participation Evaluation Framework is the cornerstone of the strategic approach to evaluation. It provides the tools for the design of the activities, assess the impact of this work, and add to the sector knowledge base on what works (and does not work) to achieve equality of opportunity in higher education.

Access and Participation Evaluation Framework

The Framework consists of two resources: the Evaluation Guidance and Toolkit and the APP Knowledge Hub, which are available to internal and sector colleagues. Support is provided to help colleagues to use the guidance and to develop their evaluation practice.

The resources draw on OfS materials and the knowledge and frameworks developed by sector networks, including NERUPI, TASO NEON and FACE.

Theory of Change methodology is central to the Framework and underpins the approach to evidence and impact evaluation. The intervention strategies have been designed using the Theory of Change to plan, monitor and evaluate activities. The framework will be used to strengthen institutional evaluation activity, including activities and services not directly linked to the plan.

Evaluation Guidance and Toolkit 

The evaluation guidance and toolkit provide resources, templates and guidance to support colleagues at the start of their evaluative journey and to develop their evaluative expertise. The guidance unpacks Theory of Change, the different types of evaluation (including levels of evidence), examples of evaluation methods and methodologies, guidance on analysis, reporting, dissemination, GDPR and ethics.

The toolkit signposts datasets that can be used for evaluation and monitoring purposes (including HESA and GO data) as well as tracking data from the East Midlands Widening Participation Research and Evaluation Partnership that is key to evaluating the impact of outreach activity.

The University has also developed an APP student characteristics dataset to allow monitoring of which students access and engage with services and activities, target student groups, and evaluate impact of activity by student characteristics. This dataset will help to monitor the effectiveness of the intervention strategy activities.

APP Knowledge Hub  

The APP Knowledge Hub is a themed repository where colleagues can record and share evidence/evaluation findings; monitor the progress and impact of the intervention strategy activities; share emerging reports, literature, research and best practice; learn about projects and activities taking place across the institution and the sector more broadly; and facilitate collaboration. The resource is curated from contributions from internal and sector colleagues. The University will publish the findings of its APP evaluation activity on the APP Knowledge Hub.

Evaluation Principles

The following principles underpin the approach to evaluation and impact reporting:

Students can bid for funding to conduct student led research into barriers to equality of opportunity as a strand within the University Research Scholarship Scheme. Providing a means to undertake either individual or collaborative research to inform the direction of the APP work. Funding for a PhD studentship has been ringfenced to investigate issue as specifically associated with the Black awarding gap and evaluate interventions to address this through curriculum design and delivery.