Student satisfaction with teaching is high, with 85 per cent of students agreeing that teaching staff are good at explaining things and make the subject interesting, and that they are intellectually stimulated and challenged to achieve their best work.
This year’s National Student Survey (NSS) gives fresh insights into student engagement, with new questions on the learning community, learning opportunities and the student voice. The survey was revised in consultation with UK universities and colleges and their students. Its new and updated questions gather evidence that has not previously been available nationally.
In the new areas introduced in 2017, 84 per cent of students agree that they are provided with learning opportunities such as exploring ideas in depth and applying what they have learnt. Some 77 per cent agree that they feel part of a learning community and have the right opportunities to work with other students.
As a result of the changes to the survey, it is not valid to compare the 2017 responses with those in previous years.
The results of the survey, conducted on behalf of the UK funding bodies, are used by higher education providers to improve students’ academic experience. The inclusion of student engagement questions this year sheds new light on areas for development.
The results will also provide valuable evidence to inform students’ choices about where and what to study, and will be published for this purpose on the Unistats website.
The 2017 survey covered 530 universities and colleges, an increase from previous years, with substantially more alternative providers of higher education taking part.
Professor Madeleine Atkins, HEFCE Chief Executive, said:
‘The NSS continues to be the largest and most authoritative survey of its kind in the UK. Its role in gathering crucial evidence about the student experience in higher education has been enhanced this year by new questions on student engagement and updated questions to reflect the latest approaches to learning and teaching. The 2017 results show that students provide particularly positive feedback on the quality of teaching and on learning opportunities. Institutions will also, however, be considering carefully how they can continue to improve assessment and feedback, and their broader engagement with students’.
Professor Sir David Bell, Chair of the Student Information Advisory Group, said:
‘These excellent results show that our universities and colleges continue to offer a high-quality experience for their students. The National Student Survey is instrumental in driving improvements across an increasingly diverse higher education sector. It also plays a key role in supporting student choice. The revised survey which has been run in 2017 offers new insights on student engagement, a crucial component of a successful experience in higher education.’
A summary table of results for the UK is shown below. More detailed data is available through the HEFCE website. Prospective students will be able to compare NSS results and other relevant information on the Unistats website from September.