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Our main analysis makes use of linked school, college and higher education administrative data. For mature students, unlinked higher education administrative data is used. Quantitative random effects models are used to compare the probability of different adverse university outcomes for students with A-levels, BTECs and a range of other vocational/technical 16-19 qualifications. We will investigate the extent to which differences in both qualification and subject choice explain the socio-economic gap in university outcomes.
Additional analyses will make use of individual-level datasets from nine UK universities exploring the role of module subjects and scores in mediating the relationships between qualifications/subjects and adverse university outcomes.
A variety of methodological challenges need to be addressed to achieve our aims. Amongst these are the clustered nature of the data, the difficulty of measuring SES in administrative data and the comparability of tariffs for entry qualifications between qualification types and over time. We will benefit from an Advisory Panel to help us meet these challenges as well as is possible.