What is the Higher Education Achievement Report and why did we introduce it at Goldsmiths?

Example HEAR

Graphic courtesy of http://www.hear.ac.uk/

In 2013 we made a commitment to providing all full programme undergraduate students, beginning a degree programme in September 2014, with a Higher Education Achievement Report (HEAR). This new type of transcript records academic results as well as co-curricular achievements. Why did we introduce the HEAR at Goldsmiths?

Why do we need the HEAR?

Essentially, the traditional degree certificate alone doesn’t reflect the range and depth of knowledge, skills and experience which you can gain at university and it doesn’t provide employers with the information they need about you when you graduate.

After a study into the UK honours degree classification system, Professor Sir Bob Burgess, in his 2007 report Beyond the Honours Degree Classification, proposed that the development of the HEAR would provide a ‘rich record of student activity and modernise the traditional degree classification system’. In October 2012, the Burgess Implementation Steering Group formally introduced the HEAR in a publication Bringing It All Together.

To date, 90 Higher Education Institutions have implemented the HEAR and more are expected to follow. In a speech this July to Universities UK, the Universities Minister, Jo Johnson recognised that there were increasing numbers of students graduating with a first or a 2:1 and needed ‘for their degree to be a currency that carries prestige and holds its value.’ He praised the work that the Higher Education sector is doing with the HEAR to tackle the need for richer information on the student experience. He called for urgency with this work.

What does the HEAR offer?

The HEAR offers a more sophisticated and holistic approach to recording your achievements. It also acknowledges the full range of opportunities that Higher Education Institutions offer our students. The HEAR includes information about academic work and also co-curricular activities you do such as voluntary work or offices held in Students’ Union clubs and societies, prizes, employability awards.

What are the benefits for you?

The Higher Education experience is not just about studying. You participate in co-curricular activities during your university years, which are a great way to create a social network, make new friends and have fun. They also enable you to develop important transferable skills, which are valuable when it comes to finding a job. The HEAR recognises these activities. It tells the story of your experience, knowledge and skills in a single source of information that you can refer to post graduation (lifelong).

The HEAR highlights the importance of understanding and articulating the skills and attributes you develop from the co-curricular activities you participate in that are beyond the scope of your academic studies. Many of you already understand that the job market you will enter is competitive and you want to stand out when you apply for jobs. The HEAR is a useful tool to share your achievements with future employers.

‘I want to show that I’ve done something else other than just my degree. The HEAR gives a platform for people to be recognised. It will set you out from the crowd.’ First year student

The HEAR is an official Goldsmiths document. We recognise that the current job market is extremely competitive and want to do everything we can to make you as employable as possible. Issuing a HEAR on graduation at Goldsmiths is in line with other institutions across the sector and puts you on a level playing field with your peers.

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