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Rob Ward The Centre for Recording Achievement Context setting, the journey to ‘Bringing it all together ’ – and a bit beyond…. What we think…. The Journey. The Scoping Group. The Steering Group: Credit and the Honours Degree Classification.

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rob ward the centre for recording achievement rob@recordingachievement org
Rob Ward

The Centre for Recording Achievement

Context setting, the journey to

‘Bringing it all together’ – and a bit beyond…

the journey
The Journey
  • The Scoping Group.
  • The Steering Group: Credit and the Honours Degree Classification.
  • Recommendations 2007.
  • Implementation Group 2008.
  • Advisory Group 2012.
burgess steering group report 2007
Burgess Steering Group Report (2007)…

Honours Degree Classification No Longer Fit for


The Case for Change (Why Develop a HEAR?)

Summative System at Odds with Lifelong Learning.

Stronger focus upon ‘Employability Skills’ > Employers have clearly defined qualities they are looking for in graduates.

Greater financial investment than ever before.

Students require more than just a certificate.

All stakeholders should have detailed information on what is behind a particular class of degree.

Wider Recognition of Achievement.

the wider context
The wider context…
  • ‘a need to do justice to the full range of student experience by allowing a wider recognition of achievement;’
  • ‘the present system cannot capture achievement in some key areas of interest to students and employers.’
the hear proposals 2007
The HEAR Proposals (2007)…
  • a Higher Education Achievement Report (HEAR) will be the central vehicle for recording all university-level undergraduate higher education student achievement in all UK higher education institutions.
  • The HEAR will be a single document, based on, and developed from, the current academic transcript, and incorporating the European Diploma Supplement (so first and foremost an academic record...)
  • The HEAR will contain information which the institution is prepared to verify. Further work should be done on how to measure and record skills and achievements gained through non-formal learning…
key hear components
Key HEAR Components…
  • Academic Transcript (module marks and grades, possible drilling down’, plain English programme information).
  • Additional information esp. section 6.1 - a ‘richer picture’ of verified additional achievements recorded under one of three headings:
    • measured or assessed performance in non-academic contexts accredited by, or with external accreditation recognised by the University, e.g. awards concerned with employability;
    • additional recognised activitiesundertaken by students which demonstrate achievement but for which no recognition is provided in terms of academic credit, e.g. Course Representatives or Students’ Union Officers;
    • University, Professional and Departmental Prizes.


1. provides a detailed (national and international) single record of student achievement; (incorporating both the DS and HE Transcript);

2. enables provision of a full academic record, including the opportunity for detailed information of achievement in respect of different forms of assessment;

3. provides a common structured format within which to include details of the wider achievements of the learner within section 6.1.


4. is designed to be much more than an exit document, being developed from entry to HE onwards. This will enable it to be used:

    • as a basis for reviewing progress and planning future activities;
    • to support student engagement with a range of opportunities beyond the curriculum;
    • as an aide memoire for students in considering applications for sandwich placements, study abroad or internships, or for permanent employment or further study before the final award is made;
    • subject to appropriate permissions, as a source of information that can be accessed by prospective employers (and admissions tutors).
possibilities four perspectives
Possibilities… four perspectives:
  • an institutional record to be implemented;
  • a context for institutional development;
  • a resource for students to support progression…
  • a potential resource for employers and recruiters…
where are we up to
Where are we up to…

2008 on Two cohorts of trial institutions (30 overall), the first purposefully chosen to reflect diversity…

2012 Final Report recommending adoption, endorsed by UUK and Guild HE.

16 institutions issued HEARs to graduates in 2012, (45,000+ HEARs, full range of mission groups).

36 additional institutions implementing by 2012, many more have formal timetabled plans for implementation.

so what have we learned
So what have we learned…
  • Broad agreement on the framework and Guidelines for implementation approach, signed off to 2014…
  • Perceived congruence with institutional agenda key…
  • Implementation requires an alliance of Registry, Learning and Teaching, Careers and Employability, Students,Senior Managers…
  • Early decision taking in respect of decisions about Section 6 important.
  • The holding of data related to student achievement within centralised record systems a real advantage.
  • Early moves toward an electronic HEAR a priority.
  • Some have started with issuing to graduates, others with introducing to entrants.
as of today ten key messages
As of today… ten key messages

Institutions are issuing HEARS - 45,000 HEARs were issued to graduates leaving sixteen Universities in 2012. 

The full range of institutions are involved… Institutions issuing HEARs span the full range , both teaching and research-led.

Numbers are growing - we anticipate:

  • 36 additional institutions will issue HEARs to graduating students in 2013.
  • A similar number have either commenced the implementation process with 2012 students, or plan to with 2013 entrants.

More than 110 institutions signed up for the HEAR Starter Pack .

There is a growing level of interest in the HEAR within programmes that can serve to support student development as well as future applications for employment and postgraduate study.

Most challenges met - there are ways of addressing most if not all of the questions raised by the implementation process, including section 6.1 and the importance of equal opportunities in provision. 


There are now no issues regarding the acceptability of the HEAR as the UK version of the Diploma Supplement.

The HEAR can accommodate GPA.

Technology available Project DARE (Digital Academic Records Exchange service) available to apply high-level digital signatures to electronic documents, including the HEAR (other systems are of course available).

We know from the Futuretrack study that extra-curricular activity matters…

depending upon institutional decisions the hear is required to be
Depending upon institutional decisions, the HEAR is required to be…

1.  A repository for the recording of academic and verified wider achievement (so needs to interface with the Student Records System, or wherever else such information is held);

2.  A context where programme information is held, so needs to interface with any module catalogue (or have bespoke material written)

3.  A formative resource to support planning and review during the student lifecycle, with verified information added on an ongoing basis (so links to online assessment and feedback systems);

4.  A resource that students can draw upon to support future applications for employment or further study;

5.  A document that can be accessed by possible employers, with the students permission (e.g. in terms of data search);

6.  A document that might facilitate the export of elements into graduate application processes, with appropriate tagging to indicate institutional verification of Such elements;

7.  The permanent definitive student record, signed off by the registrar or similar and held for the lifetime of the graduate, with either permanent links to other material (e.g. programme or module information) or with all the information contained within the individual record.


Emerging perspectives,

new directions

  • ‘Work in progress’…an investigation of employer perspectives; the HEAR as a developmental, formative tool for students…
going forward
Going forward…