National Student Survey 2014 results show record levels of satisfaction

Students are most satisfied with teaching, least happy with assessment and feedback

August 12, 2014

Campus universities have continued to perform highly in the 2014 National Student Survey as undergraduate satisfaction scores hit a 10-year high.

Some 86 per cent of the 321,000 final-year undergraduates who responded to this year’s survey said they were satisfied overall with their course, up from 85 per cent last year.

Only 5 per cent said they were dissatisfied and 2 per cent were strongly dissatisfied, while 7 per cent were neither happy nor unhappy about their course, according to the results of the survey published on 12 August.

Excluding small and specialist institutions, three universities shared the top spot in this year’s survey, gaining a 93 per cent approval rating: the University of Bath, Keele University and the University of St Andrews.

In joint fourth place are the University of Exeter, the University of East Anglia, and two private universities – the not-for-profit University of Buckingham and The University of Law, which was bought by private equity firm Montagu for about £180 million in 2012. Each scored 92 per cent in student satisfaction scores.

That meant the five best rated public universities were all campus institutions.

The universities of Oxford and Cambridge were joint eighth on 91 per cent, alongside the universities of Bangor, Coventry, Durham, Essex, Glasgow, Kent, Newcastle, Surrey, and the Open University.

Overall, the highest ranking higher education institution is the Courtauld Institute of Art, in central London, which gained a 100 per cent approval rating from its students, up from 76 per cent in 2013.

Institutions in London again fared relatively poorly, with Ravensbourne, the University of the Arts London and London Metropolitan University scoring the lowest in the country (68, 71 and 76 per cent respectively).

Madeleine Atkins, chief executive of the Higher Education Funding Council for England, said she was “delighted to see record levels of student satisfaction this year” and the “marked improvements in satisfaction with assessment and feedback over the last decade”.

Reflecting on the NSS, which was launched in 2004, she added that “over the last 10 years, [the NSS] has helped over two million students to make their voices heard about the things that matter to them, and has been fundamental to driving change in our universities and colleges”.

Overall, teaching was rated most highly by students out of the six categories assessed, with 87 per cent of students happy with the course, up from 86 per cent last year.

Assessment and feedback was again rated the lowest by students, with just 72 per cent saying they were satisfied with this, the same level as last year.

Greg Clark, the universities minister, said: “It is great to see student satisfaction rates with their university experience are continuing to rise.

“It is vital that higher education institutions further enhance teaching quality and improve the experience they offer to students.”

National Student Survey 2014: UK results

National Student Survey 2013National Student Survey 2014
1-4The teaching on my course86%87%
5-8Assessment and feedback72%72%
9-12Academic support80%81%
13-15Organisation and management78%78%
16-18Learning resources84%85%
19-21Personal development82%82%
22Overall satisfaction85%86%

* The percentage satisfied is calculated by combining the ‘strongly agree’ and ‘mostly agree’ responses.

National Student Survey 2014: results by institution

Institution2014 satisfaction score2013 satisfaction score
Courtauld Institute of Art10076
Brighton and Sussex Medical School9695
University of Bath9394
Keele University9393
University of St Andrews9393
University of East Anglia9293
University of Exeter9291
Hull and York Medical School9288
University of Buckingham9293
The University of Law Limited92N/A
University of Cambridge9192
Coventry University9190
Durham University9190
University of Essex9193
University of Kent9190
Newcastle University9190
Open University9192
University of Oxford9191
University of Surrey9192
University of Glasgow9189
Bangor University9186
Stranmillis University College9188
Harper Adams University9090
Rose Bruford College9087
University of Dundee9088
Aston University8989
Bath Spa University8987
Birkbeck, University of London8986
University of Birmingham8988
Brunel University London8987
University of Chichester8985
Conservatoire for Dance and Drama8987
University of Hull8990
Lancaster University8990
University of Leicester8989
Loughborough University8988
University of Northampton8988
Norwich University of the Arts8988
Oxford Brookes University8987
University of Reading8989
Royal Academy of Music8988
Royal College of Music8980
Royal Holloway, University of London8989
University of Sheffield8990
University of Warwick8987
University of Winchester8989
Royal Conservatoire of Scotland8984
University of Strathclyde8986
Cardiff University8989
Swansea University8986
Bishop Grosseteste University8885
University of Chester8888
University of Leeds8887
Leeds Trinity University8886
Newman University8891
University of Nottingham8888
Soas, University of London8888
University of Portsmouth8888
Royal Veterinary College8889
University of Ulster8888
University College Birmingham8785
Goldsmiths, University of London8788
Imperial College London8787
Nottingham Trent University8786
Heriot-Watt University8790
Robert Gordon University8787
University of Stirling8787
Arts University Bournemouth8687
Canterbury Christ Church University8685
University of Derby8686
Edge Hill University8687
University of Greenwich8686
Guildhall School of Music & Drama8681
University of Lincoln8684
University College London8684
Queen Mary University of London8689
University of Roehampton8686
University of St Mark and St John8690
St Mary’s University, Twickenham8685
Sheffield Hallam University8683
University of Southampton8687
University of York8689
University of Aberdeen8687
Queen Margaret University8683
Cardiff Metropolitan University8685
Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama86N/A
Queen’s University Belfast8690
Anglia Ruskin University8579
De Montfort University8583
University of Huddersfield8586
University of Liverpool8588
Liverpool John Moores University8584
University of Manchester8585
Middlesex University8582
Northumbria University8586
Plymouth University8586
St George’s, University of London8578
University of Sussex8589
Teesside University8585
Medway School of Pharmacy8597
Edinburgh Napier University8584
University of Bedfordshire8480
University of Bristol8487
University of Central Lancashire8484
University of Cumbria8483
University of Gloucestershire8480
Heythrop College8486
Staffordshire University8483
University of the West of England8486
York St John University8488
Abertay University8484
Glasgow Caledonian University8484
University of the Highlands and Islands8484
University of the West of Scotland8484
Birmingham City University8382
University of Bradford8385
City University London8386
University of East London8379
University of Hertfordshire8380
King’s College London8381
Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts8372
London School of Economics and Political Science8388
Manchester Metropolitan University8384
Royal Agricultural University8384
Universities of East Anglia and Essex; Joint Provision at University Campus Suffolk8383
University of Sunderland8384
University of Worcester8385
Aberystwyth University8383
University of Brighton8286
Falmouth University8279
Liverpool Hope University8282
University of West London8280
University of Edinburgh8282
University of Bolton8178
Plymouth College of Art8179
Royal Central School of Speech and Drama8185
University of Westminster8180
University of Wales Trinity Saint David8176
Bournemouth University8080
Leeds College of Art8085
Leeds Metropolitan University8081
London South Bank University8082
University of Wolverhampton8083
Writtle College8084
University of South Wales8081
Southampton Solent University7977
Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance7981
Bucks New University7878
Kingston University7880
University of Salford7879
Glasgow School of Art7880
Glyndwr University7882
University for the Creative Arts7773
Royal Northern College of Music7791
London Metropolitan University7672
University of the Arts London7174

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Reader's comments (3)

Point of clarification. St Andrews is not a campus University. Its part of the town.
How come there are no HE within FE institution's listed?
Emma -- a really good question! At the moment the vast majority of HE programmes delivered in FE institutions are accredited by partnerships with HE institutions so those students' responses will be included in the stats for the accereditating university. I can't speak to individual cases/anomalies though. EKM, Chester