Aaron Porter, President, National Union of Students (NUS), said: "It is clear that the current degree classification system is no longer fit for purpose; students deserve a more detailed acknowledgement of their overall achievement from their time in higher education. NUS welcomes the HEAR trial as an important step towards all students in the UK receiving a comprehensive report at the end of their degree course. We are actively supporting all institutions and students' unions which are taking part in this trial, and we look forward to a wider discussion about how the report can be implemented nationally in the future."
Background NUS involvement in development of HEAR Students unions key role Activity groups, volunteering, sports clubs etc
NUS Policy Passed 2009 1. To continue to support the reform of degree classification and cooperate with the HEAR trials across the UK 2. To play an active role in the dissemination of feedback from the HEAR trial 3. To support the roll-out of the HEAR across the higher education sector. To lobby to ensure any new system of recording achievement is easily understood and accessible for students
NUS Policy Passed 2010 NUS Believes: 1.The HEAR provides students, employers and institutions broader information about students experiences and learning than the degree classification alone. 2. The HEAR should be adopted by all UK institutions. 3. The implementation of the HEAR should recognise the ever diversifying nature of the student population. 4. The HEAR has potential to further the gap between those who can afford, both financially, and with their time, to take part in extra curricular activites. 5. That the HEAR will create more barriers for those with currently the most barriers, those who find it difficult to afford their basic costs so work part time, those with caring commitments, distance learners who may not find it easy to access extra-curricular activities.
NUS Policy Passed 2010 NUS Resolves: Support the national roll-out of the Higher Education Achievement Record (HEAR). Ensure that students union activities and non-formal learning is recognized by the HEAR. Lobby the Burgess Group to recognize the work of course reps and other academic representation activities such as involvement in periodic reviews, on the HEAR. Support students unions in the trial institutions to communicate the changes to students and work with their institutions to ensure a smooth implementation. Lobby the Burgess Group to ensure that the HEAR is a force for social mobility
NUS Policy Passed 2010 To safeguard the interests of students and meet their demands over those of employers, and institutions in any way of showcasing attainment. To lobby employers to create more thorough admissions and assessments of candidates in order to move away from a 'box ticking' system in the future. To ensure that the money spent on quality assurance of students' HEAR will not result in less, but more resources being put into opening up more opportunities for all, and more direct investments in students' own abilities to articulate and reflect upon their experiences. To ensure that there is a way to acknowledge an individuals achievements who may not wish to register details of a particular activity, such as involvement in a political campaign or a liberation issue which they may not wish to disclose to all potential employers, and which may be less tangible such as overcoming personal circumstances or juggling particular commitments in order to study.
Guidance to students unions on HEAR Brief guide for students unions Skeleton for students union to adapt Highlighting wider achievements: what worked/ what didnt How to get involved Event in Spring 2011
Case Study: University of Derby Good practice: The books Having a seat on the university HEAR group since the beginning – gave the Union a clear understanding of what HEAR is A university that understands the Unions processes and barriers
Case Study: University of Derby Worked well: Technical support from the university – creating the database that links directly to HEAR - means we have to do very little administration Support and want from the students – if there is no appetite then students wont do the work for it It helped in setting up real manageable processes and procedures for our volunteers
Case Study: University of Derby Been better: No support from anyone externally – a template or guidance would have been helpful – did the project blindly and just hoping it works out Understanding from Union staff about the project – might have had more support from staff if they understood the project Finance to support the project
Case Study: University of Derby Guidance: Unions having to sort out HEAR will be crying out for support from NUS – we had a blank canvas and no one to help us so the task was rather daunting NUS to update unions on the project at a national level – we heard a lot from the university about the national picture but nothing from NUS and how they are supporting the project and their vision The university support is key – if a union has a bad relationship with there institution then they will struggle to implement the project as its the University that need to do it