National Student Survey 2016 results

The University of Nottingham’s results for the 2016 National Student Survey (NSS) are in. The results are the University’s best to date and its strongest year-on-year improvement since the NSS began in 2005.

University highlights

We achieved our highest ever level of ‘overall satisfaction’ (Question 22) – 89% – against last year’s 86% and our previous high of 88% (in 2014). The corresponding score for question 22 was 4.29 – again the highest we’ve achieved and which also just exceeds the University’s Strategy 2020 target of 4.28.

Our average score across all questions was also our highest, at 4.16. This score across all questions places Nottingham at 9th within the Russell Group, as compared to 17th in the 2015 results (noting that reported rank within any group depends on which NSS measures are used).

We also maintained our very high response rate of 75%, reflecting our students’ strong engagement with providing us this important source of feedback and insight about their experience.

In addition to the strong rise on Question 22, Nottingham also registered at least a small rise against every one of the remaining 21 questions, and in every question area.

What do the results mean?

Prospective students use NSS data when choosing their course and University and it plays an important role in the domestic league tables. Nottingham’s 2016 NSS results will first be reflected in The Times ‘Good University Guide’, which will be published in September 2016. All indications are that our rank on that measure will rise considerably, and that we’ll also see improvements in ranks in various subject tables (all other things being equal).

Professor Sarah O’Hara, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Education and Student Experience, has said that “At University level, the overall picture is very positive and these results should contribute strongly to the University’s overall position. This is excellent news and a huge tribute to the enormous amount of work that has been undertaken by all colleagues in Schools, Faculties and Professional Services.”

Subject highlights

The NSS is fundamentally about students’ experience on their course, and the University result of 89% for ‘overall satisfaction’ reflects the aggregate result across all of our subjects. 24 subjects (out of a total of 39) scored 90% or above – again an all-time high for Nottingham – with four reaching 100%: American and Canadian Studies, Chemical and Environmental Engineering, Music and Theology.

Also among those scoring 90% or above for ‘overall satisfaction’ are Economics (96%), The Vet School (95%), English (94%) and three departments within the School of Humanities – Archaeology, Classics and Philosophy – which all achieved 94%, and Natural Sciences at 93%. Law, Life Science and Mathematical Sciences all achieved 92%, and those with 91% were Biosciences, Chemistry, Computer Science, Architecture and the Built Environment, Mechanical, Materials & Manufacturing Engineering, and Culture, Film and Media Studies. At 90% were the Business School, Electrical & Electronic Engineering, and History.

Further results and analyses

Institution, School and subject level results are already being prepared by Strategy, Planning and Performance (SSP) for internal circulation in the coming week, using official data provided by Hefce, so there is no need or benefit for colleagues to download data or for analyses to be undertaken locally.

SSP are also creating an updated version of the NSS Results Explorer, which will be release as soon as possible after Hefce releases the open ended comments on Wednesday 24 August.

Find out more about our commitments to improving the student experience and beyond in Global Strategy 2020, our vision for the University over the next four years. For further public coverage, visit the Times Higher Education.

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