In 2017 almost half a million third or final year students from over 350 universities and colleges were invited to take part in the NSS, with approximately 70 per cent responding.
Since it was first run in 2005, the survey has grown into a widely used barometer of student views:
- It drives change for the better, giving higher education providers the evidence to make changes that their students want and need.
- It provides UK-wide data from over 300,000 students each year which informs decisions about higher education developments
- It helps prospective students choose the right course at the right institution based on the feedback of those with direct experience.
The scale of the NSS makes it a powerful information resource for understanding the higher education system as a whole. It provides an annual view of what students of all types and from all backgrounds feel about the courses they studied.
Feedback from the survey has shown that students want to see improvements to assessment and feedback of their work and as a result, this has become a top priority for universities and colleges
The NSS also identifies differences in the student experience between different groups of students, for instance it shows that students from some ethnic groups and those with disabilities have lower ‘overall satisfaction’ than others. This kind of insight means that universities and colleges can target their efforts on these issues and Government can take steps to stimulate change, such as the Addressing Barriers to Student Success programme.
By taking part in the survey, students are helping those who come after them to make informed decisions about their university choices. Data from the NSS is added to the Unistats website, which contains official course comparison data and is used widely by schools and career advisers.