Each table contains 11 columns of information as follows:
Column 1 - Rank
Shows where a particular course stands in comparison to others of the same type based on the percentage of completing students meeting the pre-entry industry standard by achieving A to C grades in all the core NCTJ exams plus a shorthand speed of at least 100wpm.
Column 2 - Number of completing students
This shows the number of students completing an NCTJ-accredited course and is based on figures supplied by the centre and not the NCTJ.
The figure in this column gives an indication of the size of the course (but remember, it's based on completing students and doesn't show the number of students who may have started, but did not complete, the course.
FE and commercial fast-track providers run two courses in each academic year. The figures in the results tables combine both courses. As a rule of thumb, if you want to know how many students completed each fast-track course you should divide the number in this column by two.
Column 3 - Number of students entering all core NCTJ exams
The NCTJ preliminary Certificate in Journalism offered on accredited courses is made up of a number of mandatory exams. To gain the full Certificate, students must achieve A to C grades in all exams plus 100wpm shorthand. This level of achievement is also the eligibility mark for students to sit the NCTJ's final professional qualification, the NCE. Many newspaper editors will not offer trainee newsroom posts to those without the full Certificate.
Not all students on an accredited course will choose to enter all or any of the mandatory exams that make up the preliminary Certificate in Journalism qualification. There may be a number of reasons for this. Some find the exams too hard or too costly if they are not included in the course fees.
Others may enrol on an NCTJ course but decide later that they don't want to work as journalists.
Column 4 - Percentage of students entering all core NCTJ exams
This shows the number in column three as a percentage of the number of students who completed an accredited course having entered all the core NCTJ exams. It is important to keep the percentage in perspective as the numbers of students can vary greatly.
Column 5 - Centre / Course
This shows all the centres offering accredited courses of a certain type.
In the case of the results tables for the FE and commercial fast-track sectors, dates are given for the two courses that were completed during the 2007/8 academic year and the figures in all the other columns represent the combined scores for both courses.
Each entry in this column links to an individual NCTJ record for each course which shows students' performance. The record shows how many students entered each of the core exams and how many passed with A to C grades and how many obtained A to E grades. The records also show how students fared in optional NCTJ exams they may have been offered on the course.
Not all courses currently accredited by the NCTJ and listed elsewhere on the website appear in the results tables. This is because they haven't been accredited long enough for students to have had an opportunity to sit all our core exams. In the case of journalism degree courses, the table shows only those accredited in or before September 2005 and where students have completed the full three years of study.
Column 6 - Number of students with A-C grades in all core exams + 100wpm
This shows the number of students who completed the course having met the pre-entry industry standard of A to C grades in all the core NCTJ exams plus a shorthand speed of at least 100wpm.
Students who meet the industry standard have a better chance of being offered a newsroom job over than those who haven't because most recruiting editors prefer NCTJ-qualified applicants.
Column 7 - percentage of completing students with A-C grades in all core exams + 100wpm
This shows the number in column six as a percentage of the number of students completing the course - and is the measure we use to rank courses in the results tables.
Courses with a high percentage of A to C students tend to have the best record for employment in the industry; in some cases, editors with vacancies will approach such courses before they've even finished in the hope of head-hunting the most able trainees before they are recruited by rival news organisations.
Column 8 - percentage of students entering all core exams with A-C grades + 100wpm
This shows the number in column six but as a percentage of the number of students who entered all the NCTJ's core exams. It is important to keep the percentage in perspective as the numbers of students can vary greatly.
Columns 9, 10 & 11 - A to E grades in all core exams plus at least 60wpm shorthand
This information is similar to that in the preceding three columns except that it records the number of students gaining A to E grades in all core exams and a minimum shorthand speed of 60wpm (column 9) as a percentage of the number of students completing the course (column 10) and as a percentage of those entering all the core exams (column 11).
These figures give some indication of the take-up for professional NCTJ exams on the course but you should remember that A to C grades and 100wpm shorthand is the industry standard and what most newsroom employers look for in those applying for jobs as trainee journalists.