Alistair Jarvis, Chief Executive of Universities UK

Universities UK has responded to the results of the 2017 National Student Survey (NSS) which show high levels of student satisfaction and engagement.

The NSS is an annual survey of final-year undergraduates studying for higher education qualifications at higher education institutions. Over 300,000 final year students took part in the survey, which gives fresh insights into student engagement. 84 per cent of respondents said they were satisfied overall with their course.

Responding to the results, Alistair Jarvis, Chief Executive of Universities UK, said:

“Student satisfaction remains very high at universities across the UK. Students rightly expect universities to provide a very high-quality education. Universities continue to listen to feedback from students and are striving to further improve and personalise the learning experience they offer.

“Universities in the UK have a well-deserved international reputation for high quality teaching and learning. They are all required to make sure that their provision meets high levels of academic standards and quality as set out in the Quality Code. In recent years, universities have increased their focus on the quality of teaching and invested in learning support. The new data also allows us to see that there are high levels of satisfaction across the sector with learning opportunities (84%), the learning community (77%) and the opportunities for students to participate in their university (student voice - 73%).

“The new questions in this year’s survey and the boycott of the NSS in some universities makes a year-on-year comparisons difficult. For this reason we would urge students and those who advise them on application decisions to take into account a range of information about institutions and courses. Ultimately there is no substitute for speaking to admissions officers, lecturers and current students to get a feel for the university and course.”

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.

Following consultation and extensive testing, the National Student Survey 2017 includes 10 new questions on ‘teaching on my course’, ‘learning opportunities’, and ‘learning community ’and ‘student voice’. It also revises the wording of nine further questions on ‘learning resources’, ‘organisation and management’, ‘academic support’ and ‘assessment and feedback’.

As a result of these changes, it is not valid to compare question-level responses from 2017 with those from 2016 or previous years and such comparisons should not be undertaken. Further details are available here.

About Universities UK: The representative organisation for the UK’s universities. Founded in 1918, its mission is to be the definitive voice for all universities in the UK, providing high quality leadership and support to its members to promote a successful and diverse higher education sector. With 135 members and offices in London, Cardiff (Universities Wales) and Edinburgh (Universities Scotland), it promotes the strength and success of UK universities nationally and internationally.

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