National Student Survey 2023 results

Results of the 2023 National Student Survey (NSS) have been published.

National Student Survey results, August 2023

More than 330,000 students from across the UK completed the survey, which featured a range of questions relating to their academic experience, including the teaching on their course, assessment and feedback, and how well courses are organised.  

This year saw the first implementation of a revised NSS with a number of significant changes, including adjusted core survey questions and a new four-point response scale. In addition, new questions focused on mental wellbeing and freedom of speech for the first time, while the ‘overall satisfaction’ question no longer appears. Given these changes, comparisons cannot be made with previous NSS results. The Office for Students (OfS), which commissions the survey, has instead set benchmarks for each of the seven thematic question groupings.  

The University performed strongly in areas focused on learning resources, particularly the libraries, and freedom of speech, whilst the Leeds University Union also performed well in terms of representing students' academic interests. At an individual subject level, Leeds also met or exceeded a number of sector benchmarks; however, at an institutional level, Leeds did not meet these averages overall. 

Reflecting on the results, Professor Simone Buitendijk, Vice-Chancellor and President, said: “Through our 10-year University strategy, we have a bold vision to transform student education to ensure our students develop the knowledge and skills they need to succeed and make a positive impact in the world. We recognise that our current cohort of students have faced several challenges, including the impact of Covid 19, as well as disruption caused by industrial action. 

“These latest NSS results demonstrate the need to continue the transformation of our learning and teaching, through Curriculum Redefined to create long-lasting benefits for our students and staff.”  

Professor Jeff Grabill, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Student Education, added: “The NSS results provide the University with important and useful indicators of where we have work to do on the quality of the educational experience at Leeds. In many respects, these outcomes are disappointing and are a call to action to address the clear patterns that tell us all what needs to improve and where. 

“In particular, we need to build stronger relationships with our students, leaving them in no doubt that we care about them, their goals, and their dreams. Educators across campus will be concerned by what students are saying to us about the level of academic support provided to them and how we listen to their voice. 

“Leveraging Curriculum Redefined and related, specific interventions, we need to produce the results that meet the high expectations of our students and staff and that we can be proud of. We should see the outcomes of this important work reflected in the student experience.”  

Curriculum Redefined has now completed its initial design phase and has added new capacity to support academics with curriculum design and new staff to support innovative teaching practices.  

Work continues to assist faculties to refresh programmes across the University. Key changes will also include an emphasis on timely, formative feedback, better academic support for student learning, and a renewed commitment to acting on student feedback on their learning experience. 

Joanna Burton is interim Head of Policy (Higher Education) at the Russell Group, which represents 24 world-class, research-intensive universities, including Leeds. 

She said: “Students have shown great resilience in challenging circumstances in recent years, and we are pleased to see high levels of positivity from students across the Russell Group with the teaching on their courses.  

“The updated NSS gives universities a more accurate picture of students’ views and will ultimately help them to improve the experience for all students. It is also encouraging to see that the vast majority of students gave a positive response when asked if they feel free to express their ideas, opinions and beliefs on campus. This is testament to the work our universities put in alongside our students' unions to create an environment where a diverse range of views and ideas can be aired and debated.” 

The full NSS results are available on the OfS website.

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