Satisfaction remains high in 2013 National Student Survey

The University has maintained its level of performance in this year’s National Student Survey (NSS), with 87% of our final year students saying they are satisfied with their experience at Leeds.

This is the same as our 2012 overall satisfaction score and means we remain above the sector average of 86%.

With the exception of a single point drop in Teaching, we have improved or maintained our scores across the other six question categories, with the greatest increases in Assessment and Feedback (up 2 percentage points to 71%, equalling the sector average for the first time), and in Learning Resources (up 2 percentage points to 90%). Satisfaction with our Students’ Union remained at 90%, putting us significantly ahead of the 68% sector average.

We maintain our reputation for having one of the highest response rates in the sector, with a slight increase in the number of eligible students completing the survey (79% – up 1% from 2012). This compares favourably to the overall response rate of 68.6%.

A striking aspect of this year’s survey is the number of smaller, specialist institutions which have scored highly. Another key feature is that the scores are very close, with very little difference between the institutions in the top half of the table. In terms of the Russell Group, we rank joint 16th out of 24 institutions alongside Warwick, Bristol and Imperial College.

Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Student Education Professor Vivien Jones said: “This is a good, solid result for us, and I am delighted that all the hard work of academic and Student Education Service colleagues continues to be recognised and appreciated by our students. Once again, the survey produced an excellent response rate and it is testament to the good relationships we have with our students that so many of them were engaged and keen to give their opinions on the student experience that we offer here at Leeds."

“As always, there are areas where we can do better, and I was disappointed that our score in the Teaching category went down slightly – from 90% to 89% – but this is still above the sector average and is an area where I know we can make further improvements. We also need to continue to work on Personal Development, where our score remained static at 81% satisfaction, just below the sector average. It is vital that we improve our engagement with our students in helping develop their employability and their acquisition of key work and life skills."

“We will be receiving more detailed results later in the month, and these will give us a better indication of school-specific issues that we need to address, in partnership with our students, over the coming academic year.”

Bradley Escorcio, Leeds University Union’s (LUU) Union Affairs Officer, said:  “I’m delighted that the dedication of our staff, volunteers and students is reflected in the NSS scores once again. The fact that both the Union and University have maintained high levels of student satisfaction in what has been a very challenging year in higher education is a great achievement.  If, however, we are to build on our 90%, rather than maintain it, we need significant investment in our student services and facilities. We’ve noticed a significant shift in the demands and expectations of students; my worry is that without significant developments in these areas, when £9K fees payers reach their final year our NSS score may slip.”

LUU’s Education Officer Alice Smart, added: “It’s excellent to see that for another year, Leeds has received some really positive student feeback. It’s a real testament to the Partnership that student satisfaction in many areas of their University life has gone up yet again. Though we’re really happy with these results, there are still some areas which we need to work hard to improve. The Union and the University now need to focus their attention on tackling  problems around assessment and feedback where there’s significant room for improvement.”


The ninth National Student Survey (NSS) ran from February to April 2013, and is sponsored by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE).  Around 304,000 final-year students responded to the survey this year, from 154 HEIs and 165 FECs from across the UK.

The annual survey measures the satisfaction levels of current students, and their experiences give prospective students valuable information that will help them decide what and where to study.

Final year students were asked to indicate their level of agreement with each of 23 statements using a five point rating scale as follows:

1  Definitely disagree 
2  Mostly disagree 
3  Neither agree or disagree 
4  Mostly agree 
5  Definitely agree

The NSS results and a full list of questions can be found on the Unistats website

Data table

The following data table compares the University's results for each question category against the national average for higher education institutions.

 Question category  2012 agreed 2013 agreed 

Change between 2012 - 13

(percentile points) 

Sector average
Teaching (Q1 to Q4) 90  89   -1   87 
Assessment & feedback (Q5 to Q9)  69  71 +2  71 
Academic support (Q10 to Q12) 80  81  +1  80 
Organisation & management (Q13 to Q15)  83   84 +1 78 
Learning resources (Q16 to Q18)  88  90  +2  85 
Personal development (Q19 to Q21)  81  81  82 
Satisfaction with Student's Union  90  90  68 
Overall Satisfaction (Q22)  87  87  86 

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