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Research & Evaluation | Monitoring, evaluation & the Progression Framework

Our evaluation framework continues to be a beacon of good practice across the Uni Connect Programme (formally known as the National Collaborative Outreach Programme – NCOP). The SUN Research and Evaluation team is involved in national conversations on evaluation practice within higher education by presenting at academic conferencespractitioner conferences and being part of the TASO-HE Evaluation Practitioner Advisory Group.  We are engaged in the national evaluation of Uni Connect and work closely with the national evaluation teams to provide evidence towards programme reports and findings.

The Progression Framework

A requirement for Phase 2 is that all activity must be directly linked to the SUN Progression Framework. You can find a copy of this here.

The SUN Progression Framework is split into three progression stages and 49 learning objectives. The learning objectives are grouped into three themes:

  1. Attitudes and Knowledge of Higher Education
  2. Attainment
  3. Positive Possible Selves

These three themes underpin all the activities and projects delivered and funded by SUN. They have been identified from previous evaluation evidence and wider research in widening participation. To find out more about why these three themes, read our Phase 1 review and planning report.


Evaluation – This includes the following tasks across all SUN funded activity:

HEAT forms, baseline and follow up surveys:

This takes place in the autumn term. To robustly evaluate SUN ask target learners to complete a HEAT consent form – for further information on why watch the short video. The baseline and follow-up survey ensure that SUN can identify any change that has taken place since learners have engaged in SUN funded activity. We know that this part is really tricky, but we appreciate your support and understanding that this bit is really important to the impact of the project. For further information get in contact with your Project Leader (contact page).

Activity surveys:

SUN try and keep the number of surveys for activities as low as possible –but sometimes surveys are the best way for us to collect information quickly. At some SUN events, or if we fund a project in your school or college, SUN may ask you and/or your students to complete a pre and post survey. This is important in understanding if the event or project has had the desired impact/outcome. If surveys aren’t completed, SUN is not able to evaluate and this may impact upon future funding.

Focus Groups and Interviews:

Sometimes for events or projects that are really intense SUN would like to gain further information and qualitative data to help us understand the personal impact of projects. SUN may ask learners, or staff, to take part in an interview or focus group. As with all evaluation, this is not mandatory and participants will always have the opportunity to decline.