Chris Bennett

Breaks in Learning - QAR Withdrawals

Edited

Morning,

Looking for some help please with interpreting P41 of the QAR Business Rules (quoted below) with regards to learners on a break.

Am I understanding part b correctly, that if a learner started a break in learning at any point during the 19/20 funding year (Aug 2019-Jul 2020), they will be counted as a QAR withdrawal unless they have a restart record by 21/22 R04 (so need to have returned to learning no later than Nov 2021)?

As the example that follows in the business rules seems to suggest there would be an extra year before they are counted as a QAR withdrawal - hence my confusion!

41 We treat learning aims as withdrawals for the overall QAR methodology where they have a ‘Completion status’ of 6 (‘Learner has temporarily withdrawn from the aim due to an agreed break in learning’) and where either: 

  1. they do not have a corresponding restart record in the same funding year or in the following 2 funding years, OR
  2. the planned break recorded in the R14 ILR return for 2019 to 2020 has no corresponding restart record in the R04 ILR return of 2021 to 2022 

Replies

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Martin West

The confusion is down to the OR but you would expect/have agreed the learner should return within 15 months.

Paul Taylor

The general answer to your question is that yes breaks in learning that do not return are counted as a withdrawal in a subsequent year - like a delayed penalty.

This change was added to the QAR business rules a few years ago as some providers and colleges were using breaks as a mechanism of suppressing their withdrawals and therefore inflating their achievement rates. This solution does not feel right, but has been a way of forcing providers to this properly. The will create an issue for 20/21 and 21/22 achievement rates with the large numbers but on a break in 19/20 due to furlough or some other COVID related reason that did not subsequently return. 

Chris Bennett

Thanks for the reply Martin West - it is the example which follows in the business rules that has confused me:

If this scenario happens, we will set the reporting year to one year after the latter of the expected end year or actual end year. For example, if you recorded an aim with a ‘Learning planned end date’ in July 2020 with a planned break in learning in April 2019, this will be a withdrawn aim in the 2020 to 2021 funding year if there is no restart record in:

  1. the R14 ILR return in 2019 to 2020, OR
  2. the R14 ILR return in 2020 to 2021, OR
  3. the R04 ILR return of 2021 to 2022

In this example, the learner started their break in the 18/19 funding year (Apr 2019), and it suggests they wouldn't be counted as a withdrawal if they have a restart record by 21/22 R04 - so they could potentially have been on their break for ~31 months.

Martin West

In the technical guidance it is explained better as the OR confusion is replaced with either/OR.

  1. Aims where the learner is on a planned break (with a Completion status of 6 ‘Learner has temporarily withdrawn from the aim due to an agreed break in learning’), are treated as a withdrawal for the overall methodology where either of these apply:
  • they do not have a corresponding restart record in the same funding year
  • they do not have a corresponding restart record in the following funding year
  • if the planned break was recorded in the ILR R14 return for funding year 2019 to 2020, they do not have a corresponding restart record in the R04 ILR return of the funding year 2021 to 2022

HTH

Chris Bennett

Cheers Paul Taylor, can understand why this has been put in place, it is just trying to fully decipher how it applies in practice.

Thanks Martin West, that is a clearer explanation in the technical guidance, and it seems like they have used a bad example in the business rules.

So if I'm understanding correctly, it works as follows:

  • Learner with planned end date in 2019 to 2020, goes on a break in learning in 2019 to 2020, no restart record by R04 of 2021 to 2022, will be counted as a withdrawal for QAR year 2020 to 2021.
  • Learner with planned end date in 2020 to 2021, goes on a break in learning in 2019 to 2020, no restart record by R04 of 2021 to 2022, will be counted as a withdrawal for QAR year 2021 to 2022.

Is that right?

Martin West

Yes that would fit with the following:

If an aim where the learner is on a planned break that is submitted in the 2019 to 2020 ILR (YearAimSubmitted is ‘2019/20’), does not have a corresponding restart record:
• the reporting year is set to one year after the later of the expected end year or actual end year; and
• P_Count_Overall is set to 1; and
• P_Ach_Overall is set to 0