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The total number of students who responded to the fifth annual National Student Survey increased this year by over 3,000 to 223,363 students; this gives an overall response rate for the UK of 62 per cent. A total of 155 higher education institutions (HEIs) across the UK and 117 further education colleges (FECs) in England took part.

The survey shows that the overall satisfaction rate (Question 22 in the survey) for students studying HE in England remains high: 81 per cent said that they are satisfied with their course.

For the first time this year students studying NHS subjects were able to respond to the survey by phone and post, in addition to the online survey they have used in previous years. This change has meant an increase in the overall response rate from this group from 37 per cent last year, to 65 per cent this year.

This is the second year that students studying HE courses at English FECs have participated in the survey. Their overall satisfaction is 75 per cent, with participation in the NSS at 57 per cent.

2008 and 2009 National Student Survey results for students England

Questions 2008 NSS2009 NSS
 % satisfied% satisfied
1-4 The teaching on my course 83 83
5-9 Assessment and feedback 64 65
10-12 Academic support 73 74
13-15 Organisation and management 72 72
16-18 Learning resources 81 80
19-21 Personal development 78 79
22 Overall satisfaction 82 81

The figures in the table are for students taught in England. The Unistats web-site gives data on all students in the survey, and will be available at the end of September 2009. It covers HE students in England, Wales, Northern Ireland and 12 Scottish universities, as well as students on HE courses at FECs in England. Responses from some students on initial teacher training courses and students studying NHS subjects will also be available.

HEFCE Chief Executive, Sir Alan Langlands, said:

'The increase in participation and the continued high levels of satisfaction in this year's National Student Survey results demonstrate the commitment of institutions to deliver learning and teaching which is meeting the needs of their students. In the coming months it will be important for institutions to look closely at the results and identify areas where improvements can be made.'

David Lammy, Minister of State for Higher Education, said:

‘High quality teaching is essential for a strong university sector, and it has never been more so than in the current climate where we want to ensure that students have the skills they need to progress and build up the UK's economy.

'Once again we are seeing students that are very satisfied, with over 80 per cent consistently rating their teaching experience highly. Five years of these high rates demonstrates that our higher education system is continuing to meet the challenge of providing a rewarding and quality experience to students across the country.'

Professor Paul Ramsden, CEO, Higher Education Academy, said:

'A high quality student experience is the hallmark of excellent higher education. With the current pressures on the sector, it is striking that the vast majority of students are positive about the teaching they receive and about their experiences generally. It's a tribute to the commitment of everyone who works in higher education, but it makes it even more important that we keep our eyes on the ball and continue to deliver really good teaching for all students.'

Professor Janet Beer, chair of the NSS steering group and Vice-Chancellor, Oxford Brookes University said:

’The increase in participation and continuing high levels of satisfaction demonstrate that students are engaging seriously with the survey as an important means by which to maintain and enhance the quality of their experience. There is a particularly pleasing upward trend in the percentage of students satisfied with the processes of assessment and feedback. This is an area in which universities are constantly – in partnership with their students - striving for improvement.’

Wes Streeting, President of the NUS, said:

'We are pleased that most students remain happy with the quality of university courses. However, we are concerned that the survey reveals a small dip in overall levels of satisfaction as the first group of students to pay top up fees prepared to graduate. There is clearly no room for complacency on the part of universities, who have a responsibility to improve standards in accordance with their increased resources.'


Notes

1. The threshold for publication of NSS results is at least 50 per cent response rate with at least 23 students responding.

2. The NSS survey covers nearly all final year undergraduates studying for higher education qualifications at HEIs and FECs in England, HEIs in Wales and Northern Ireland, 12 institutions in Scotland, and the independent University of Buckingham. Students on initial teacher training courses funded by the Training and Development Agency for Schools and students studying NHS subjects are also included.

3. The percentages in the table include students studying at the Open University.

4. NSS data are available on the HEFCE web-site.

5. The NSS was carried out by Ipsos MORI. The data are available for prospective students, their parents and advisors, and will be made available on the Unistats web-site at the end of September 2009. Unistats is developed and maintained by UCAS and Hotcourses.