James Brooklyn

DfE Qualification Achievement Rates for 2022/23


We are currently trying to calculate our achievement rate for 2022/23, but we're having trouble working out exactly what counts for completions and withdrawals, as well as just what the final calculation is. 

Is anyone able to make it a bit clearer for us, as the QAR business rules guidance we received doesn't make anything clear at all. 


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Martin West

See the technical documentation here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/qualification-achievement-rates-2022-to-2023


Steve Hewitt

I'm only slightly kidding when I say you want the Technical Guidance, not the Business Rules, but it is, if anything, marginally more complicated (in that it goes down to field level to explain what counts and what doesn't).

I'm not aware of any ESFA/DfE provided introductory guides/videos, I think most of us have just learnt by doing...


James Brooklyn

Steve Hewitt Hi Steve, thanks for the advice. Having read through the Technical Guidance and redone the maths, we're confident our achievement rate is above 60% for 2022/23.

Unless the DfE are not excluding learners who withdrew within the first 42 days, which they state is the case in their own Technical Specification. I believe that's the only thing that might just put us below the 60% mark, which is what we were contacted regarding in the first place. 


James Brooklyn As Steve says, it can be a tortuous process to get to the bottom of some figures and there are lots of caveats and conditions. For example, the 42-day rule you mention only applies where the expected aim or programme duration is 168 days or more and is not a restart. Where the expected duration is between 14 and 167 days, the actual duration to qualify for inclusion is only 14 days.

I find the best way is to take a sample learner, preferably representative of others where you don't understand their inclusion (or not) in a figure, and then go through each of the principle data items one by one until you hit the value that causes it. The hybrid year calculation is one of the particularly awkward ones, where a learner gets counted in a different year cohort than the one you expected. 

Without tempting fate, I dare say if you put some sample details up here then some support can be offered.

Simon Liversedge

Hi James, are you aware that 22/23 provisional QAR is now available in view your education data?

You will be able to see your QAR there and download the files which will tell you which learners were included/excluded. I find it helps to look at these to help get an understanding of the rules and how they are applied. 

Steve Hewitt

James Brooklyn if this is Apps, the key thing to understand is which Hybrid End Year a learner falls into, you could easily have people who left two years ago affecting your rate...

Joe M

We found it to be a very tedious process working out QAR manually especially with the 5 year range. We got recommended a piece of software called Strata by Orbital which does all of the QAR calculations and generates lots of different reports based on ILR data. It has been one of the most useful bits of software I have found in a long time could be beneficial for yourself in the future. 

Steve Hewitt

[other QAR calculating products are available] ;)

Dean Cox

Steve Hewitt which others are there?

Predicting and planning for our own QAR's is something we are really keen to be able to do. As we also find the calculations too tedious and no confidence if correct or not.

Thanks, Dean.


Steve Hewitt

Pro-achieve is the other widely used stand alone product. I believe some of the App-focussed student record systems have tried to build it into their products as well, but haven't seen the current iterations to know how good they are.

(impartiality aside (!!!), Strata is definitely worth a look!)


I know PICS has a detailed QAR output (full disclosure - I used to work for them) and I would think that most of the other provider MI systems have an equivalent. I've not used Strata but assume it can be used to import multiple ILR files for providers who just use the free-entry tool?

Joe M

Timmo for Strata you just need to run your ILR through the FIS tool and have it export into a Microsoft Access Database then you upload the access doc to the software selecting the academic year and return that the ILR relates to. I normally upload every ILR report I run so then I can see any changes to data live. Like Steve said other products are available but I couldn't give any info on these (I only have experience with Strata) 

Steve Hewitt

Timmo I think PICS is kind of the only one? And, anecdotally, that's not so great with Apps, due to their multi-year nature vs in-year classroom rates (happy to be corrected on this)? None of the big college systems have QAR models built in (mainly because pro-ach cornered the market before they could build it), that much I do know, so it's fairly usual to use a third-party programme.


Steve Hewitt I think PICS got pretty close with it, although others may have experience to the contrary. The outputs certainly allow you to identify and analyse the data clearly to identify anomalies. A problem was/is identifying the hybrid year - you could identify when a leaver/achiever was first exported but not guarantee that was also when it was successfully uploaded to ESFA (but then all systems will have that issue - more disclosure, I have no affiliation now to PICS!). Doesn't sound like it will be of relevance here though.

I recall from some other systems websites that they at least implied they produced QAR but no idea if they actually did or not.