Demographics in Higher Education are important. Analysis of demographics can:
- identify disparity in academic achievement
- support targeted provision of inclusive and positive action for those less privileged and
- track demographic changes in student populations, aiding institutional planning.
Demographics can also feed into a number of key aspects, such as recruitment and resource planning, Higher Education Statistics Agency reporting and meeting the fair-access obligations of the new regulator, the Office for Students. Planning teams therefore, are familiar with demographics as important data points for supporting university activities, which is something unlikely to change.
But with the rise of data-led, machine-learning techniques, it is now possible to use data to enhance our understanding of learners and their learning environments, resulting in the rapid emergence of learning analytics within the sector which use algorithms to support decision making and offer new areas of insight.