You need cookies enabled

Cookies

You need cookies enabled

Contents

  • Executive summary
  • Introduction
  • Methodology
  • Population
  • Overview of results
  • Time series of results using a core population
  • Satisfaction of full-time core population by particular characteristics
  • Sex
  • Age group
  • Disability status
  • Domicile
  • Ethnicity (UK-domiciled)
  • Subject area
  • Qualification on entry
  • Level of study
  • Local area participation in HE
  • Annex A 2010 NSS questions
  • Annex B NHS-funded and healthcare students
  • Annex C History of the National Student Survey population
  • Annex D NSS question results split by subject area

Executive summary

Purpose

1. This report provides an overview of the results from the sixth annual National Student Survey (NSS) carried out in 2010 and a five-year time series, between 2006 and 2010, of the overall scores for the higher education (HE) sector.

2. It follows on from 'National Student Survey: Findings and trends 2006 to 2009' (HEFCE 2010/18)see notes1 and provides details of the satisfaction scores split by student and course characteristics. As with the previous document, it is intended to be a descriptive analysis of the data and does not attempt complex analysis of the effects that student, course and institutional characteristics have on the NSS results.

Key points

4. For the 2010 NSS, we compared the satisfaction scores of various groups of students with those reported for the overall population (the 'global score'). Respondents studying in Northern Ireland and Scotland were significantlysee notes2 more satisfied than the global score in the NSS categories of questions on Organisation and management, Learning resources and Personal development, but were significantly less satisfied with Assessment and feedback.

5. Respondents studying at further education colleges (FECs) showed significantly different satisfaction profiles to the global scores. Chiefly, they were more satisfied with Assessment and feedback and less satisfied with Organisation and management and Learning resources.

6. Further to the analysis carried out in HEFCE 2010/18, data on part-time respondents have been split into those on distance learning courses and those on other part-time courses. Both categories of part-time respondents were more satisfied than the global score for questions on Assessment and feedback, and both were less satisfied regarding Personal development. However, they differed in opinion for the areas Academic support and Organisation and management: those on part-time distance learning courses were more satisfied than the global score, and other part-time respondents were less satisfied.

7. NHS-funded students showed significantly different satisfaction profiles to non-NHS funded students. The two question categories with the largest differences were Organisation and management, where NHS-funded students were less satisfied, and Personal development, where NHS-funded students were more satisfied.

8. The overall population satisfaction scores were also split by institution in order to consider the variation in scores for each category of question within the sector. The category with the largest range in satisfaction scores was Overall satisfaction, while the category with the smallest range was Teaching and learning.

Full-time and part-time core populations

9. The five-year time series, from 2006 to 2010, for respondents studying full-time and on part-time courses that had not been completed using distance learning showed an increase in satisfaction for all question categories. Those on part-time distance learning courses also saw an increase in satisfaction for most question categories but a decrease for Personal development (from 74 to 73 per cent) and Overall satisfaction (from 94 to 92 per cent).

Full-time core population

10. For the 2010 full-time core population, significant differences were observed between male and female students. The greatest differences in satisfaction were found in the question categories of Academic support and Learning resources, where female students were less satisfied than male students. Further, the 2006 to 2010 time series showed that differences in Overall satisfaction had decreased over time and that in 2010 female respondents were less satisfied than male respondents for the first time since 2006.

11. Students in the age groups 21-24 and over 25 were significantly less satisfied than students aged under 21, in the categories of Academic support, Organisation and management, Learning resources and Overall satisfaction. However, students aged over 25 were significantly more satisfied than the global score in the question categories Assessment and feedback and Teaching and learning.

12. Between 2006 and 2010, overall satisfaction for respondents in both the 21-24 and over-25 age groups was consistently lower than the global score.

13. The NSS 2010 showed that disabled students were significantly less satisfied than the global scores in all question categories; the categories with the largest difference in satisfaction were Organisation and management and Overall satisfaction. Overall satisfaction for disabled respondents between 2006 and 2010 was consistently lower than the global score.

14. For Teaching and learning, students from the EU and international students were significantly less satisfied than the global score. For five of the other six question categories international students were significantly more satisfied than the global score.

15. Considering overall satisfaction between 2006 and 2010, international respondents have seen a smooth transition from a difference of -3 per cent, in 2006, to +2 per cent, in 2010, while EU students have remained less satisfied than the global score during this period.

16. We restricted our analysis of ethnicity to UK-domiciled respondents, because the profile of respondents who were not UK-domiciled differed so markedly to that of UK-domiciled respondents that to combine the results may have masked differences in satisfaction between ethnic groups. In 2010, satisfaction profiles varied significantly for UK-domiciled students depending on their ethnic background. Differences in satisfaction score were significant in two categories: Teaching and learning and Academic support. In both cases students from a White ethnic background were significantly more satisfied than the global score, and students from all other ethnic backgrounds were significantly less satisfied than the global score.

17. Looking at the 2006 to 2010 time series for Overall satisfaction, the difference in satisfaction from the global score has reduced for most UK-domiciled ethnic groups; however this is not the case for respondents with Mixed or Unknown ethnicity.

18. The students with the highest satisfaction score were those undertaking historical and philosophical studies or physical studies; Overall satisfaction (question 22) was 89 per cent. Those studying creative arts and design gave the lowest score, at 72 per cent. However, care should be exercised not to compare one subject with another; these data have been included to complete the five-year time series.

19. Comparing the 2006 NSS with the 2010 survey, nine out of the 21 subject areas saw little change in satisfaction. The biggest positive change was found in subjects with relatively few respondents, and the biggest negative change was found for respondents doing Initial Teacher Training, at a fall of 3 per cent.

20. Students entering HE with qualifications other than A-level or equivalent (either Level 3 or below, or Level 4 or above) were significantly less satisfied than the global score in five of the seven question categories. Between 2006 and 2010, respondents with Level 4 or above qualifications have seen a year on year improvement in Overall satisfaction, while the other qualification groups have remained stable.

21. For Assessment and feedback, respondents studying for qualifications other than a first degree were more satisfied than those studying for a first degree, and less satisfied with Teaching and learning, Organisation and management and Overall satisfaction. The finding for Overall satisfaction was consistent between 2006 and 2010.

22. Respondents aged under 21 and from low young participation areas (quintile 1 in the POLAR classification) were significantly more satisfied than the global score for Assessment and feedback, while those from high participation areas (quintile 5 in the POLAR classification) were significantly less satisfied. In contrast, for Organisation and management those from low participation areas were significantly less satisfied and those from high participation areas were significantly more satisfied.

23. Those aged 21 and over from areas with high adult HE-qualified rates (AHEQ 5) tended to be less satisfied than respondents from areas with low adult HE-qualified rates (AHEQ 1) across all question categories. Significant differences between the satisfaction of AHEQ 1 and AHEQ 5 were observed in the question categories Assessment and feedback, Academic support and Personal development.

Action required

24. No action is required in response to this document.


Notes

  1. All HEFCE publications are available.
  2. The term 'significant' in this publication denotes statistical significance. Further details on when we consider a difference to be statistically significant can be found in paragraph 41.

Date: 1 April 2011

Ref: HEFCE 2011/11

To: Heads of HEFCE-funded further education colleges, Heads of HEFCE-funded higher education institutions, Heads of universities in Northern Ireland

Of interest to those
responsible for:

Quality assurance and enhancement, Student services, Planning

Enquiries should be directed to:

Hannah White, tel 0117 931 7063, e-mail h.white@hefce.ac.uk