Thursday, 6 August 2009

NSS Results - Students in Scotland most satisfied in the UK, but feedback an issue for NUS

HEFCE today released the results of the National Student Survey (NSS) for 2009. The survey provides a picture of final year undergraduate students' views of their experience in higher education. On the measure of overall satisfaction, preliminary data suggests the Scottish sector as a whole performed well relative to other parts of the UK. Students who have just left the 12 participating Scottish institutions indicated an overall satisfaction rate of 86%. This compared favourably with the 82% rating given by students at English higher education institutions and student satisfaction rates of 83% in Wales and 84% in Northern Ireland.

Feedback poor in Scotland

Despite the positive score for overall satisfaction, NUS Scotland highlighted its concern at Scottish universities' scores for feedback. Noting that only 53 % of students at Scottish institutions agreed that ‘feedback on my work has helped me clarify things I did not understand’, the student body voiced its concern that the rate of satisfaction remained "stubbornly low" in this area. President Liam Burns commented

“Many lecturers are working incredibly hard to improve the amount and quality of feedback students receive, but today’s results show that universities have to throw their weight behind this work... University management need to show a commitment to making sure feedback is more than just a number or a grade.”

The UCU, however, welcomed the survey's findings and the fact that the majority of Scottish students were happy with quality of teaching they receive whilst at university. However, assistant general secretary, David Bleiman, warned that students' positive experience in Scotland could not be guaranteed indefinitely and went on to call for additional government support suggesting that:

"...cuts to teaching budgets and worsening student bursaries are going to make it much harder to sustain the current levels of satisfaction. Hence the Scottish Government should spend the extra £30 million it is allocating for student support on bursaries and redouble its efforts to find extra funding for universities."

Scottish Rankings

St Andrews University retained its position at the head of the Scottish league table for overall satisfaction, despite falling back a percentage point. Of the three new Scottish participants this year (RGU, Edinburgh Napier and The Glasgow School of Art), Robert Gordon performed most strongly and was ranked 7th with a satisfaction rating of 84%. Elsewhere, Heriot Watt's level of satisfaction fell by 4%, the University of Edinburgh remained adrift of the rest of the 'Ancients' in 9th place and, at 69%, the level of satisfaction of Glasgow School of Art students was some considerable way adrift of the rest of the sector.

The complete league table for Scotland looks as follows:

  • 1. University of St Andrews 92% (2008 - 93%)
  • 2. University of Glasgow 90% (2008 - 86%)
  • 3. University of Aberdeen 89% (2008 - 91%)
  • 4. University of Dundee 88% (2008 - 84%)
  • 4. University of Stirling 88% (2008 - 86%)
  • 6. University of Strathclyde 86% (2008 - 85%)
  • 7. Glasgow Caledonian University 84% (2008 - 85%)
  • 7. Robert Gordon University 84% (2008 - N/A)
  • 9. University of Edinburgh 83% (2008 - 83%)
  • 10. Heriot-Watt University 81% (2008 - 85%)
  • 10. Napier University 81% (2008 - N/A)
  • 12. Glasgow School of Art 69% (2008 - N/A)

Further Information

News piece & full dataset from HEFCE

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