Brilliant Club

TASO announces The Brilliant Club as partner for new project to develop survey scales to evaluate outreach activities

01 Mar 2022

The Brilliant Club’s Research and Impact Team, alongside researchers from the University of Cambridge, have been appointed by The Centre for Transforming Access and Student Outcomes in Higher Education (TASO), to develop and validate a multi-scale questionnaire that can be used to evaluate outreach activities across widening participation and student success teams.

This exciting and timely project will contribute to building a more robust body of evidence to examine what works in widening participation and student success. You can find out more about how we support universities and third sector organisations with their evaluation work here.

The project will begin with a consultation with the sector and review of the existing scales used by higher education providers in the UK. The team will then identify which constructs and outcomes require new scales in order for the sector to be able to accurately measure them. They will then design, pilot, and validate new scales for these constructs and produce guidance for the sector on how to design, pilot, and validate survey scales.

Phase one of the project has now commenced. As part of phase two, the project will involve conducting a rapid consultation with the sector to better understand the intermediate outcomes, and corresponding survey scales, commonly used. If you’re interested in participating in this consultation, please email with ‘survey validation consultation’ in the email subject.

Dr Lauren Bellaera, Chief Impact and Strategy Officer at The Brilliant Club, said:

“Our Research and Impact team are delighted to be collaborating with TASO and researchers at the University of Cambridge on this important project. We know that intermediate outcomes play a significant role in supporting students to access university and to succeed when they get there. However, knowing how to measure these outcomes in a robust and meaningful way can be challenging – and often there are limited opportunities for benchmarking. This project aims to bridge this gap by bringing together research on existing scales with the views of key stakeholders. The end result will be a multi-scale questionnaire that can be used by the sector to evaluate widening participation and student access activities.”

Rain Sherlock, Evaluation Manager and project lead at TASO, said:

“We are delighted to be working with researchers at The Brilliant Club and the University of Cambridge to help us deliver on our commitment to produce high quality evaluation guidance for use across the sector. One of our key aims at TASO is to upskill and provide resources for evaluators, to improve their ability to effectively measure widening participation and student access activities being undertaken at their institution. Developing a questionnaire that can be used to measure outcomes relevant to these activities is crucial to understanding what works in reducing inequality in HE. Bringing together the experience and expertise from both of these partners will bring this important piece of work to life and we are excited to see how the project develops.”

Dr Sonia Ilie, Assistant Professor at the University of Cambridge, commented:  

“Our team at the Faculty of Education are delighted to be working with colleagues at TASO and The Brilliant Club on this timely research, looking to provide the sector with a set of tools to capture the varied range of outcomes being immediately affected by outreach, widening participation and other fair access interventions. This is an important step towards improving the evidence base around what is effective in narrowing inequalities in higher education access and participation. We’re particularly looking forward to understanding the views of a wide range of stakeholders, so that the newly developed tools serve their purposes and accurately reflect the experiences of learners.”