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Estimates overview

Mentor provides estimates of student numbers for each cohort that Heads of Subject use to allocate work to people in their subject group. From June to August, the data on which student estimates are based can change quickly. During that time, it is important to recalculate student numbers weekly. Before trimester 2 and trimester 3, a minimum of one new estimate is required within a month of the new trimester starting.


The process for estimating student numbers has several steps. Creating a new estimate without going through all the steps will result in inaccurate results. The main steps are:

  1. Define module cohorts for the whole year
  2. Import data from SITS
  3. Create a new estimate automatically
  4. Adjust the generated figure manually (if necessary)


Just before the start of a new academic year, Heads of Subject work out which modules their teams will be working on. Project supervision and related activities require significant time and effort and it is important to have as accurate an estimate of the requirements as possible. Because some modules - such as the Masters dissertation - run in each trimester, estimates also need to be produced during the year as well. The main dates are:

  • June/July: Planning figures required for whole academic year
  • November: Revised figures required for trimesters 2 and 3
  • April: Revised figures required for trimester 3


An estimate is calculated for a cohort. If there is no cohort record, no estimate will be produced. The first requirement, then, is to ensure that all relevant cohorts are defined. A cohort represents a single delivery of a module and is defined by the trimester in which it starts. For a module that only runs in one trimester like the undergraduate group project, there will be one cohort per year. For a module such as the Masters dissertation which runs three times, there will be three cohorts.

The option to view existing cohorts for the year and to define new ones can be found on the Students menu.

Data from SITS

Three sets of data are needed for estimate calculations:

  1. Total number of students on each year of UG programmes. Example
  2. Credit totals for all current PG students Example
  3. Current confirmed applications for each programme by year of entry Example

Each dataset can be uploaded from a spreadsheet using the options on the Estimates menu. The requirements for each spreadsheet are shown below. Once all three are uploaded, the estimation process can be run. Please note that it is the user's responsibility to follow these instructions carefully. Running the estimation process on incomplete data or data that is out of date will result in inaccurate estimates.

General formatting requirements

Each spreadsheet must conform to the expected format:

  • The data must be on the default tab (i.e. the first one)
  • There must be one header row which contains column headings
  • If a column is required (see below) it must not contain any null values
  • Numeric columns must contain numeric values. Other values including dashes, spaces or text may cause errors.

Blank rows are ignored.

There are no constraints on the column headings in the spreadsheet. You specify which columns to use during the upload process.

Student counts on UG programmes

The expected columns are as follows. Required columns are shown in bold.

  • Programme/route code
  • Programme title
  • Year 1 student count
  • Year 2 student count
  • Year 3 student count
  • Year 4 student count
  • Year 5 student count
  • Year 6 student count


If there are no students in a particular year, the column may be left blank or set to zero.

Note that uploading this spreadsheet will create any programme records that do not already exist. HOWEVER, the data is incomplete and needs to be updated manually once the upload has been done. A message is displayed if a manual update is needed.

PG credit totals

The expected columns are as follows. Required columns are shown in bold.

  • Matric No.
  • First name
  • Last name
  • Programme code
  • Programme title
  • Total passed credits
  • Total enrolled credits


Note that uploading this spreadsheet will add a student to the database if a record does not already exist. As with the UG upload, any programmes that do not already exist will be added to the database but they will need to be completed manually.


The expected columns are as follows. Required columns are shown in bold.

  • Programme/route code
  • Programme title
  • Year of entry onto programme
  • Total number of applications
  • Total confirmed applications


Note that any programmes that do not already exist will be added to the database but they will need to be completed manually.

Creating a new estimate

Existing estimates can be seen on the List estimates page. At the bottom of the list is a button for creating a new estimate. The only parameter required is the academic year. This allows for the creation of an estimate for the current year or the next.

Manual adjustments

There are several reasons why the automatic calculation process might not provide complete information. Mentor allows you to make manual adjustments to the generated values to improve their accuracy. Manual adjustment should be done straight after a new estimate has been calculated. It is important to remember that the data in an estimate is used by Heads of Subject for workload planning. Estimates also provide a historical record of the data at particular points in time. They should not be changed unnecessarily.

If an estimate is updated manually, a record is made of who made the change and when.

Page help

The links below duplicate the help information provided within the application.