The 2022 National Student Survey (NSS) shows overall improvement in ratings across most areas.
Ratings do vary widely from institution to institution, but the results demonstrate that, across the board, universities and colleges have worked hard to ensure student access to learning resources and a smooth return to face-to-face teaching.
In recent years there has been a clear message coming from students responding to the NSS around Student Voice. The rating for this scale has made an almost imperceptible shift from 66.4% in 2021 to 66.5% in 2022. Considering the downward trend in the preceding five years, these results clearly indicate that students in the UK do not feel that their feedback is heard or acted on at institutional level.
When the 2022 results were announced Susan Lapworth, Interim Chief Executive of the Office for Students (OfS), said:
In recent years, there has been a clear message coming from students responding to the NSS around Student Voice. The rating for this scale rose marginally from 66% in 2021 to 67% in 2022. Despite this one per cent uplift, the downward trend in these results in the preceding five years clearly indicates that current students in the UK do not feel their feedback is sufficiently heard at institutional level.
At a time when it’s never been more critical to listen to and act upon the student voice, this generation of students – who have borne the brunt of the pandemic – clearly don’t feel that they are being heard.
Since the publication of the NSS results on 6th July, a number of evasys clients have been telling us that there is a renewed focus on module evaluation because their university has not performed as well as expected in the NSS.
Module evaluation builds a culture of feedback provision that supports participation in end of course surveys like the NSS. Not only does module evaluation get students used to giving feedback, it also ensures that they can see that their views are being heard and acted on – if their institution is closing the feedback loop with students.
We’ve noticed that evasys customers who have done well in this year’s NSS have invested in the module evaluation process, including closing the loop with students. They have reaped the benefits of this investment when student satisfaction ratings have pulled through into the NSS and ratings in some areas are significantly higher than benchmark.
For some institutions, it can be challenging to even meet the reporting threshold of students required to respond to the NSS, meaning constant chasing to get the responses needed within the timeframe. For others, the reporting threshold is filled within a week or two. Why?
One factor that could be at play here is that institutions in the latter group have a robust module evaluation process in place. Consistently asking students for module feedback provides valuable scaffolding for end of course evaluation, such as the NSS.
Over the course of three or four years, students become accustomed to completing surveys after every module. Better yet, when universities close the student feedback loop and respond to the evaluations from the students, those students understand that their voices are heard, acknowledged and acted on – making the completion of future surveys a more attractive proposition.
When you have a robust module evaluation process in place, you are normalising the process of providing feedback on teaching and learning. When you close the feedback loop, you are standardising the acknowledgement of that feedback and explaining any actions that will be taken as a result of it. Both of these combined make it far easier to achieve response quotas in end of course evaluations because your institution has built a culture of feedback and acknowledgement.