The annual National Student Survey (NSS) results conducted by the Office for Students (OfS) have been released this week.
The NSS is an independent survey that asks final year undergraduate students for honest feedback about what it has been like to study on their course at their university.
For each completed survey, The University of Manchester makes a donation to local Manchester charities. Thanks to students’ engagement this year, over £12,000 has been donated.
Improvements on last year
This year, for our total scores, 22 of 27 questions had positivity scores of 70% or above.
We have worked hard to make our results more reliable and representative by encouraging more students to complete the survey. Our engagement rate has increased by 12%, with 74% of final year undergraduate students responding, compared with 62% last year.
Results show students think our courses are intellectually stimulating, with 86% being positive about them, compared to the overall English sector score of 84%. They rated teaching highly, with 89% saying that teaching staff explain things well.
Our Students’ Union was given a strong score of 74% for ‘supporting students’ academic interests’, compared to the sector average of 72%.
This year saw two new questions added to allow students to reflect on mental health support and freedom of speech. 75% of students gave a positive score for how well our mental wellbeing support services have been communicated, and 82% felt free to express their ideas, opinions and beliefs.
Where we will look to improve
The results have told us we must continue to improve our processes around assessment and feedback, particularly in the turnaround time for feedback.
Students also said the balance of directed and independent study could be better, scoring this question 67% compared to the sector average of 76%.
We will be working closely with our Students’ Union, Student Reps, and with students directly to explore these concerns, and plan a path forward.
Ben Ward, CEO of Manchester Students’ Union said: “We are delighted that our work in representing students’ academic interests this past year has been recognised by students themselves. We’re excited and committed to continuing our collaborative work with the University on improving feedback and assessment; creating an environment where every student thrives.”
Commenting on the results, Professor April McMahon, Vice-President for Teaching and Learning and Students, said: “First of all, I want to thank every one of our students who took time to complete the survey and tell us about their experiences. The NSS survey is always an important time to reflect on progress and areas where we need to do better. We know there are areas in teaching and student experience where we can improve, but we are also very proud of our amazing graduates, whose Manchester degrees support them into excellent jobs and future opportunities.”
You can view the full results here.