Collaborative Press Release (HEFCW, NUS Wales, HEW)
Results from the annual National Student Survey have shown that the overall satisfaction for students studying in Wales has remained high, with 83% of respondents satisfied with their course.
The results from the 2011 survey, now in its seventh year, took account of the views of more than 21,000 students studying at Welsh universities and colleges, and saw a significant increase in the level of satisfaction for part-time students in a number of categories.
Full-time student satisfaction has shown some increase in 12 out of 21 questions in 2011. The levels of overall satisfaction in Wales since the inception of the NSS have remained consistently high.
The most improved levels of satisfaction since 2005 have been in the areas of assessment and feedback and academic support, although the former remains marginally below the UK level of satisfaction. The figures also showed that part-time students were less satisfied with their learning resources than full-time students.
Once again, students on NHS sponsored courses in Wales were particularly satisfied compared to the figure for the UK as a whole, with 89% satisfied with their practice placements, compared to 84% for the UK as a whole.
Professor Philip Gummett, Chief Executive of HEFCW, said: “The National Student Survey results for 2011 show that universities in Wales are continuing to deliver courses to a high level of satisfaction amongst students.
“Since the survey began it has shown that students are increasingly satisfied with many aspects of their experience, such as the academic support, and organisation and management of courses. This attests to seriousness with which we treat the student experience in Wales.
“We are pleased to see the increase in satisfaction in assessment and feedback though there is some distance to travel. We particularly welcome the increase in satisfaction of part-time students, which proves that Wales is truly responsive to diverse learners. We will be looking at the results with the sector to continue to improve the student experience in Wales.”
Amanda Wilkinson, Director of Higher Education Wales, said: “These positive results show that universities are maintaining their high student satisfaction ratings with further improvements made in key areas. I am pleased to note that on most of the questions in the NSS, student satisfaction is up on last year’s survey. Looking at longer term trends we’ve seen a consistent and significant improvement in students’ perception of the quality of
teaching, academic support, assessment, feedback and the management of courses at our universities.
“It’s vital that universities learn from and build on these results to ensure that the next cohort of students benefit from the feedback that their peers have given this year. Universities in Wales are actively engaging with the Higher Education Academy on their Future Directions ‘Students as Partners’ work to deliver better performance through even greater engagement with students.”
Luke Young, NUS Wales President, said: “Students’ expectations of universities and colleges are higher than ever. Institutions must be proactive and work in partnership with students to deliver an all-round excellent student experience. This should include open dialogue about issues such as assessment and feedback, which are still not at a desirable level. As more students look to study part-time, it is essential for institutions to recognise that
facilities and information are too often tailored towards full time students and do not meet the needs of part-time students. More flexibility is required as a matter of urgency.”
The NSS data will be available on Unistats.com, which helps students researching entry to higher education compare information about different subjects and institutions.
The survey covered higher education students in England, Wales, Northern Ireland, and 14 Scottish institutions.
The Unistats website (www.unistats.com) gives data on all students in the survey.