Factors contributing to student outcomes in Northern Ireland FE Colleges – An Econometric Analysis

Date published: 27 July 2016

In December 2015, the Department commissioned the Ulster University Economic Policy Centre to undertake research on Further Education (FE) final year enrolments on regulated qualifications to identify the factors contributing to student outcomes based on three academic years data covering 2012/13 to 2014/15. The final report was prepared by the Ulster University Economic Policy Centre and is an update of earlier work published in 2013 by the Department for Employment and Learning which used a similar methodology. The Department’s analysts provided advice during the analysis phase as well as on the underlying data and metadata. The Department also compiled an infographic to summarise the recent results. 


Understanding how the performance of a final year student enrolled for regulated qualifications is influenced by the personal and course (including college attended) characteristics is an important issue for the Further Education sector and the Department’s FE policy more generally.  The research model looks at how outcomes of Further Education courses may vary with a change in characteristics of an individual student studying for that qualification. This analysis may assist the Department as it focuses on delivering positive student experiences and contributing to strong economic outcomes. It may also assist colleges in the development of pastoral care and student support programmes. It is important to note however, that the analysis is one of many sources of information colleges may use to improve service delivery.  In addition, all student needs are assessed at an individual level to identify appropriate interventions.

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