The UK’s Universities Minister, Sam Gyimah, is taking on a very complex challenge in proposing a ratings scheme for courses. Using such measures as student satisfaction, drop out rates and destinations data are fraught with problems.

It is very hard to separate the impact of the whole university versus that of a specific course on both drop rates (which can also feature as someone else’s entry rate) and destinations. Measuring satisfaction is very time specific and so can vary pre and post graduation. Initial job entry does not reflect course quality unless it reflects the conscious choice of a student.

Perhaps it might be better to derive an independent employability potential score for specific courses and the university which covers what is on offer to a potential new student as it is very much up to the student (in partnership with their fellow students and university staff) as to what they make of their total university experience. Deriving such scores are now made possible by treating course content as analysable data.

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