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Satisfaction has either improved since 2013 or stayed the same in each of the seven categories covered by the survey [Note 1]. In particular, teaching, academic support and learning resources have all gained ground in 2014.

Only 7 per cent of students were neither satisfied nor dissatisfied with their higher education experience in 2014. A further 5 per cent were dissatisfied, while only 2 per cent were strongly dissatisfied.

Around 321,000 final-year students responded to this year’s survey – the highest response rate (71 per cent) since it began 10 years ago. A record number of universities and colleges from across the UK took part (156 higher education institutions, 166 further education colleges and three private higher education providers).

The results are used by senior management teams, academics, students’ unions and others to drive improvements in curriculum, teaching and learning quality, learning resources and academic support – areas which are fundamental to students’ academic experience. They also provide valuable information for prospective students [Note 2].

Professor Madeleine Atkins, HEFCE Chief Executive, said: 

‘I’m delighted to see record levels of student satisfaction this year, as well as marked improvements in satisfaction with assessment and feedback over the last decade.

‘The NSS is the largest survey of its kind in the UK. Over the last 10 years it has helped over 2 million students to make their voices heard about the things that matter to them, and has been fundamental to driving change in our universities and colleges.

‘In a period of technological advance, internationalisation and funding reforms, the NSS will continue to enable students’ views to be heard and to stimulate innovation and excellence in teaching and learning in our universities and colleges.’

A summary table of results is below. More detailed data are available.

2014 National Student Survey results for the UK

Questions2013 NSS2014 NSS
Satisfied* Satisfied
1-4 The teaching on my course 86% 87%
5-8 Assessment and feedback 72% 72%
9-12 Academic support 80% 81%
13-15 Organisation and management 78% 78%
16-18 Learning resources 84% 85%
19-21 Personal development 82% 82%
22 Overall satisfaction 85% 86%

* The percentage satisfied is calculated by combining the ‘strongly agree’ and ‘mostly agree’ responses.

Recently published research

The report ‘Review of the National Student Survey’, commissioned by the four higher education funding bodies as part of ongoing work to review the NSS, has highlighted its value and reliability. A study by HEFCE (‘UK review of the provision of information about higher education: National Student Survey results and trends analysis 2005-2013’, HEFCE 2014/13) confirmed that the NSS provides consistent and robust results. 

Notes

    1. The NSS covers nearly all final-year undergraduates studying for higher education qualifications at higher education institutions (HEIs) and further education colleges (FECs) in England and Wales, and HEIs in Northern Ireland and Scotland. The survey is funded by the four UK higher education funding bodies (the Higher Education Funding Council for England, the Scottish Funding Council, the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales and the Department for Employment and Learning Northern Ireland), the National College of Teaching and Leadership and Health Education England. HEIs in Scotland and participating alternative providers fund their own participation in the survey. The threshold for publication at each institution is that at least 23 students must have responded, and that these should represent at least half the students eligible to participate.
    2. The Unistats web-site will be updated with the 2014 NSS results later this month. Unistats is the official site to search for and compare data and information on university and college courses from across the UK. The site draws together comparable information on those areas that students have identified as important in making decisions about what and where to study. The site draws on the following official data about higher education courses:
      • student satisfaction (from the National Student Survey)
      • student destinations on finishing their course (from the Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education survey)
      • how courses are taught and study patterns
      • how courses are assessed
      • course accreditation
      • course costs (such as tuition fees and accommodation).

      The data are provided by the Higher Education Statistics Agency, the Data Service, universities and colleges and Ipsos MORI (National Student Survey).

    3. The Higher Education Public Information Steering Group advises on the development of public information about higher education, including the NSS. This group is chaired by Professor Janet Beer (Vice-Chancellor, Oxford Brookes University).