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National Student Survey - what students think

Friday 30 January 2009National Student Survey

This year, the NSS captured responses from 220,000 students – approximately 64 per cent of students on higher education courses in universities and colleges in the UK, but what did students really think about their courses of study on a national level?

Views of students in universities

• In higher education institutions, most areas of the student experience evaluated in the NSS have shown small improvements of between 1 and 3 per cent - almost none have seen falling scores since the 2007 survey;

• Scottish students in higher education institutions appear to enjoy slightly higher satisfaction with most aspects of the student experience. Assessment and feedback is the only exception to this where Scotland receives the lowest scores in the UK at 59 per cent. In particular, less than half (49 per cent) of Scottish students were happy with the promptness in detail and effectiveness of their feedback;

• In Northern Ireland, resources and facilities rate highly, with just 9 per cent of students unhappy with levels of access to IT resources;

• Just over a third (36 per cent) of students rate assessment and feedback negatively, and this area remains the poorest rated area of the NSS in higher education institutions.

Download an in-depth Education Information briefing on the results for higher education institutions, or look at the results for your institution on unistats.

Views of students on higher education courses in further education colleges

  • Approximately 7.4 per cent of all students on higher education courses study within further education colleges, and this number is set to rise in line with national developments to give many colleges new abilities to award degrees;
  • For the first time in 2008, students having their higher education course delivered in a Further Education College in England were included in the survey, of which 56 per cent of eligible students responded to the survey this year;
  • Overall, students in colleges responded with 76 per cent satisfaction in their academic experience – this is markedly lower than the 82 per cent satisfaction given by students taught in universities.
  • In addition, for the questions relating to course organisation and management, these students are significantly (13 per cent) less satisfied with the organisation and management of their courses than those in higher education institutions.