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A further 7 per cent were neither satisfied nor dissatisfied with their higher education experience; and the remaining 7 per cent were dissatisfied. 

The response rate to the 2016 survey is 72 per cent, slightly higher than the previous two years: 10,000 more final year students responded, which takes the total number to around 312,000. The survey was undertaken by students across the UK from 155 HEIs, 190 FECs and 13 alternative providers of higher education.

The number of alternative providers opting to take part in the survey this year has increased. Many more will take part in the next year’s survey, as it changes from being a voluntary to compulsory requirement in 2017.

The ‘assessment and feedback group of questions saw a small increase in satisfaction, with 74 per cent of students answering strongly agree or mostly agree, up from 73 per cent in 2015. See the table below for the complete breakdown of results by groups of questions.

More detailed data are available through the HEFCE website. Prospective students will be able to compare NSS results and other relevant information on the Unistats website from September.

HEFCE Chief Executive, Professor Madeleine Atkins, said:

‘I’m pleased to see that the results of this year’s survey remain very positive, demonstrating the commitment of all higher education providers to deliver high quality teaching and learning for their students. The response rate is very encouraging and ensures that the student voice continues to inform enhancements in quality and in the information available to the next cohort of students. The increase in the number of alternative providers taking part in the survey on a voluntary basis for this year is a reflection of how important the survey is to the sector and highlights the increasing diversity of higher education in the UK.’

The results of the survey, conducted by Ipsos MORI on behalf of UK funding bodies, provides valuable information for prospective students, and helps universities and colleges to further improve the education they provide.

2016 marks the last year that the NSS will run in its current format, as a new survey will be launched in 2017. Following an extensive review, consultation and testing by the UK funding bodies, and overseen by the Higher Education Public Information Steering Group (HEPISG), the survey will include new and revised questions along with a new online and mobile interface.

Professor Janet Beer, Chair, Higher Education Public Information Steering Group, said:

‘The National Student Survey - now in its eleventh year - has been an overwhelming success, providing a recognised set of information which drives and monitors improvement in the student academic experience and helps prospective students make informed choices. Over the past 11 years, over 2.5 million final year students have completed the survey which now covers 358 universities and colleges across the whole of the UK.

‘Following a thorough review of the NSS, we will re-launch the survey in 2017, revitalising the questionnaire by reflecting the student voice and engagement in their learning. These changes will ensure the survey continues to command the confidence of students, of institutions and of the wider public into the next decade.’

Full details of plans for the 2017 survey along with details of the new questions are due to be communicated to the higher education sector in September 2016. A summary of response to the review of the NSS is available on the HEFCE website (Note 3). 

Questions2015 NSS2016 NSS
 *SatisfiedSatisfied
1-4 The teaching on my course 87% 87%
5-9 Assessment and feedback 73% 74%
10-12 Academic support 82% 82%
13-15 Organisation and management 79% 79%
16-18 Learning resources 85% 86%
19-21 Personal development 83% 82%
22 Overall satisfaction 86% 86%

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

Notes

1. The NSS covers nearly all final-year undergraduates studying for higher education qualifications at higher education institutions (HEIs), further education colleges (FECs) and alternative providers 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 the Economy, Northern Ireland), the National College of Teaching and Leadership and Health Education England. HEIs in Scotland, Wales and participating alternative providers fund their own participation in the survey. The threshold for publication at each institution is that at least 10 students must have responded, and that these should represent at least half the students eligible to participate.

2. The Unistats website will be updated with the 2016 NSS results in September. 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 data are provided by the Higher Education Statistics Agency, the Skills Funding Agency, the Welsh Government, universities and colleges and Ipsos MORI (National Student Survey).

3. ‘Review of information about learning and teaching, and the student experience: Summary of responses to consultation on changes to the National Student Survey, Unistats and information provided by institutions’ is available on the HEFCE website: http://www.hefce.ac.uk/pubs/year/2016/201615/

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