Upward trend continues in 2014 National Student Survey

The University recorded another encouraging uplift in performance in this year’s NSS, with 88% of our final year students saying they are satisfied with the quality of their course at Leeds.

The result puts us 2% above the sector average score of 86%. We improved our scores by 1% across the board in all but one of the six question categories, and maintained our score of 71% for Assessment and Feedback. Satisfaction with our students’ union increased by 1% this year to give a score of 91%, well above the sector average of 68%.   

The results also saw us improve our position within the 24 Russell Group institutions and we are now ranked joint 11th with Nottingham, up from 16th place last year. 

With 78% of our eligible students completing the survey, we continue to have one of the highest response rates in the sector, and once again significantly higher than the national response rate which this year was 71%.

The overall picture emerging from the NSS shows that the level of satisfaction amongst students studying at UK universities and colleges is at a 10-year high, with 86% saying they were satisfied with their course. A record number of UK universities and colleges took part in the survey this year, together with 156 higher education (HE) institutions, 166 further education colleges and three private HE providers. 

Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Student Education Professor Vivien Jones said: “This is the fourth consecutive improvement that we’ve recorded in the NSS, and it’s extremely encouraging that our students are benefitting from and recognising the positive changes we have made. It’s gratifying too that so many of them wanted to participate in the survey and share their opinions about their experiences at Leeds.

“Thanks to the hard work and commitment of colleagues, we have made improvements in all but one of the question categories and for the first time none of our schools falls below 80% for ‘overall satisfaction’ (question 22), with the vast majority scoring over our expected minimum of 85%.  It’s a bit disappointing that we maintained rather than improving our score on Assessment and Feedback.  We will be working hard to address this area in particular in the coming academic year, and we will of course be examining the results in detail – as an institution, with individual schools, and in partnership with our students – to ensure that we identify every area in need of further work so that we maintain our upward trend.”  

Tom Dixon, Leeds University Union’s (LUU) Education Officer, said: “This year’s NSS scores demonstrate the effectiveness of our Partnership with the University, with overall satisfaction increasing to 88%. This is above the sector-wide average and proves that Leeds is still one of the best places in the country to study. With almost all scores in the NSS above sector averages, Leeds is well placed to boast some of the most satisfied students in the country – helped in no small part by our fantastic team of School and Course Reps. Our Reps work in partnership with the University to shape the educational experience of our students, from which the entire institution is clearly benefiting.  

“The issue of disappointingly low feedback scores offers the Reps and the University an opportunity to strengthen their partnership as they seek mutually beneficial solutions to secure our status as an institution.” 

Bradley Escorcio, Union Affairs Officer, added: “It’s fantastic to see Leeds University Union sustaining its position as one of only three university unions to achieve over 90% satisfaction in the NSS. This result is testament to the outstanding work of our staff, students, volunteers and Reps. Plus the success of our Partnership projects with the University – particularly our work alongside the Lifelong Learning Centre, an area where we have seen a significant increase in satisfaction ratings for the second year running.

“With many students still concerned about their wellbeing, finances and employability, I hope this outstanding result will prompt even greater collaboration to further enhance the student experience at Leeds over the next 12 months and beyond.”

Background

The 10th National Student Survey (NSS) ran from January to April 2014, and is sponsored by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE).  Around 321,000 final-year students responded to the survey this year, from Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) and Further Education Colleges (FECs) from across the UK.

The annual survey measures the satisfaction levels of current students, and their experiences give prospective students valuable information that will help them decide what and where to study. 

Final year students were asked to indicate their level of agreement with each of 23 statements using a five point rating scale as follows:

 

  • Definitely disagree 
  • Mostly disagree 
  • Neither agree or disagree 
  • Mostly agree 
  • Definitely agree

More detailed data are available on the HEFCE website  The Unistats website will be updated with the 2014 NSS results later this month. 

Data table

The following data table compares the University's results for each question category against the national average for higher education institutions.

Question category

2013

Agreed

2014 Agreed

Change between 2013-14

(percentile points)

Sector average 2014

Teaching (Q1 to Q4)

89

90

+1

87

Assessment & feedback (Q5 to Q9)

71

71

0

72

Academic support (Q10 to Q12)

81

82

+1

81

Organisation & management (Q13 to Q15)

84

85

+1

79

Learning resources (Q16 to Q18)

90

91

+1

86

Personal development (Q19 to Q21)

81

82

+1

82

Satisfaction with Student's Union

90

91

+1

68

Overall satisfaction (Q22)

87

88

+1

86

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