Evaluation of the Impact of Learning Below Level 2

Wiseman J, Roe P, Parry E, Speckesser S, Gloster R | Research Paper 150 | Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) | Oct 2013

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This evaluation of the impact of learning below Level 2 in Further Education in England was commissioned by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS). ‘Below Level 2 learning’ in this context comprises any learning which is funded by Government, through the Skills Funding Agency, which is aimed at developing skills and knowledge to a level Below Level 2 in the National Qualifications Framework.

The evaluation includes a literature review, an analysis of learner records drawn from the Individualised Learner Record (ILR) system, and a large-scale telephone survey among learners who had undertaken Below Level 2 FE courses.

Survey analysis was divided into three main sections, respectively for Below Level 2 learners in general, for learners who pursued English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL courses), and for Learners with Learning Difficulties and Disabilities (LLDD learners).

In addition, an econometric impact analysis of Below Level 2 learning was undertaken. This used a ‘matched’ dataset where learner records from the ILR was matched with employment and earnings data from DWP and HMRC.

The overarching aim of the evaluation was to determine the impact that Below Level 2 FE learning has had on learners’ lives, in terms of:

  • their employment status and earnings
  • prospects at work
  • their search for a job
  • benefit dependency
  • learning progression.