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1. Introduction

To understand fully the impact of Realising Opportunities (RO) on participants, there is a robust evaluation framework

that involves the collection of student contextual data, student surveys at different stages of the programme, tracking

through UCAS application data, and the Higher Education Applicant Tracker (HEAT) using Higher Education Statistics

Agency (HESA) data. The evaluation is implemented and synthesised by the Institute for Employment Studies (IES)

as RO’s independent evaluator. This approach enables consideration of the impact of the programme in a national

context and understanding of students’ own perceptions of their involvement.

The first cohort of RO participants completed the programme

in 2011 and there have been nine cohorts to date. RO

participants are surveyed at four points in time during

and after their involvement in the programme:

l

The Baseline survey occurs early in Year 12, and asks

participants about plans after Year 13, awareness of

various university and career factors, and preparedness

for university and later careers.

l

The Follow-up survey occurs around the Easter holidays

in Year 13. This repeats many of the questions asked

at the Baseline survey, so that changes in awareness of

university and career issues between the start and

end of the programme can be measured.

l

The Progress survey, introduced for Cohort 3 onwards,

occurs in the summer of the year after Year 13, when

many participants are approaching the end of their

first year at university.

l

The Success survey gathers information from former

participants four years after Year 13, when they will

have graduated if they went straight to university after

Year 13 and completed a three-year degree.

Note: B = Baseline survey, F = Follow-up survey, P = Progress survey, S = Success survey

Blue shading indicates Years 12 and 13 (although Cohort 1 had a shorter timeframe than later Cohorts at about 15 months);

orange shading indicates the first three years post-Year 13, and so would cover higher education if a student undertakes a

three-year degree straight after Year 13. Source: Realising Opportunities

RO cohorts and timing of surveys

2

Cohort 2009/10 2010/11 2011/12 2012/13 2013/14 2014/15 2015/16 2016/17 2017/18

1

B F

S

2

B

F

S

3

B

F P

S

4

B

F P

S

5

B

F

P

6

B

F P

7

B

F P

8

B

F

9

B