National Student Survey 2017

Highlights of the University of Nottingham’s NSS 2017 Results

The 2017 National Student Survey results were published on Wednesday 9 August.

Nottingham’s result for our students’ overall satisfaction with their course for 2017 is 86%,* which maintains our position of 9th in the Russell Group on this measure and which places us 39th among UK universities (excluding small and specialist institutions). This is compared to 35th nationally in 2016.

Following a major national review, the National Student Survey was substantially changed for 2017, and as a result Hefce have advised that it is not valid to compare question level responses from 2017 with those from 2016 or previous years. For more information about the changes, see the section below.

The new survey has produced a range of results, many of which the University community can rightfully be proud of, and others which we will continue our ongoing work to improve further still.

  • Of 56 subjects offered by the University, 22 subjects achieved 90% or above for overall satisfaction. At 90% were English, Accounting, Genetics, Architecture, and Finance; at 91% Sport Sciences and at 92% Biology, Social Work, and Classics; at 93% Chemistry, Civil Engineering, and History; at 94% Mathematics and Chemical & Environmental Engineering; at 96% were Law, Physics & Astronomy, Sociology, Zoology, and Food & Beverage Studies; at 97% Theology & Religious Studies and at 100% both Social Policy and Veterinary Science.
  • Subjects achieving their best ever results include Architecture, Civil Engineering, History, Law, Mathematical Sciences, Physics and Astronomy, Sociology and Social Policy, and Veterinary Medicine and Science.
  • In the new question areas, the University did particularly well compared with other Russell Group universities, ranking 2nd for questions about ‘The Learning Community‘ and 3rd for ‘Learning Opportunities‘.
  • Schools, Departments and Subjects which achieved highly, or improved their results in the light of the depressive effect of the new NSS deserve special commendation.

Further analysis of the data will be undertaken over the next few weeks to help inform  School, Faculty, and University actions that will help maintain and enhance  the  outstanding  education and student experience we encourage our students to expect and to which our staff are committed.

About the ‘New’ National Student Survey (NSS 2017)

  • Following a major national review, the National Student Survey was substantially changed for 2017. For the NSS 2017, 9 of 22 questions were amended, 11 were added, and 6 were dropped. Two of the new questions were in existing question areas, while the remaining 9 were in 3 new question areas: ‘Learning opportunities’, ‘Learning Community’ and ‘Student voice’. Taken together, these changes result in a survey with a wider approach to assessing the student experience, but which is also a substantively different survey.
  • As a result of the changes, Hefce advise that it is not valid to compare question level responses from 2017 with those from 2016 or previous years and time series data at question level that include 2017 data alongside data from previous years would not be statically robust. This advice will be taken into consideration as we endeavour to understand our own results.
  • In the absence of any other sector-wide causes except potentially the boycott of the NSS by some Students’ Unions, changes to the survey itself appear to have produced a slightly lower result for overall satisfaction across the sector, with overall satisfaction (% Agree for Question 27) decreasing by an average of 1.4 percentage points across 121 universities.
  • The overall national response rate for the NSS was down 4% on 2016 (from 72% to 68%), with Nottingham’s figure of 68% also being lower than our highest-ever response rate of 74% in 2016.
  • 12 institutions, including eight Russell Group universities, have had their institution level results withheld from the data released by Hefce, as those universities did not achieve the minimum response rate of 50% due to student boycotts of the NSS related to its use in the Teaching Excellence Framework. Those universities’ results are therefore not included in the highlight report above (although they are included for subject-level highlights where specific subjects achieved the minimum response rate thresholds). As a result, public media reporting results may vary slightly from the summary provided above.

*Please note that our 2017 % Agree for overall satisfaction is in fact 86.47%, while for 2016 it was 88.73, with the total change being -2.26. Due to rounding in public media, the difference will be reported as 86% and 89% respectively, slightly overstating the decline in overall satisfaction at University level.

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