UCL News


The National Student Survey: how you can help

14 January 2015

The 2015 National Student Survey (NSS) will be launching to all UCL's final year undergraduates on Monday 19 January.

NSS 2015 The survey is an important priority for us and last year we achieved our highest ever response rate of 74%, with overall satisfaction up 2% to 86%.

Our target student response rate this year is 75%. Increasing this will provide us with more representative data to enable us to be confident that we are addressing students' concerns, both at institutional and departmental level. It is also used to inform league tables, influencing prospective students about where and what to study. The format will be the same as in previous years, with questions being asked about students' specific experience ( teaching, support, assessment and feedback) and one question about their overall satisfaction (question 22). Question 23 will ask students about their satisfaction with the Students' Union.

Evidence shows that students respond more favourably to requests to complete the survey from people who they know, such as their lecturers, Heads of Department and administrators, as well as their fellow students. Students have consented to being contacted both by email and by phone. Please encourage your students to complete the survey online soon, not least to prevent Ipsos-MORI phoning students up to eight times to get a response, which understandably many find very irritating! NSS Liaison Officers, based within departments, have been provided with 'Toolkits' to assist them with promotion of the survey. Additionally, staff are encouraged to highlight the NSS to eligible students wherever possible. Multiple emails should be avoided, as these can have a negative effect. However, other methods to consider are:

  • Publicising the survey in lectures and seminars;
  • Enlisting your Student Academic Representatives (StARs) to promote the survey;
  • Organising an NSS lunch in an undergraduate common room;
  • Highlighting areas of improvement which have come about as a result of feedback from previous surveys;
  • Holding individual meetings with final year students and the Head of Department (where student numbers allow);
  • Using a 'totaliser' system whereby donations to the student society for end of term activities will be scaled according to the NSS response rate;
  • Highlighting the UCL response rate incentive where every department achieving 75% or more will receive a cash prize to be spent on the students;
  • Booking a cluster for completion and entering the event into the students' timetables.

The NSS is also being promoted via a range of UCL-branded material. This includes a poster and flyer campaign, links to the NSS on Moodle and the UCL homepage, and the 'wallpaper' on all cluster PCs. Any department which achieves more than 80% participation, and greater than 90% overall satisfaction will receive a Provost's commendation and an invitation to a celebratory reception.

Further information on the NSS at UCL can be found at http://www.ucl.ac.uk/srs/governance-and-committees/qme/qmea-z/nss and the survey itself is at http://www.thestudentsurvey.com/

Anthony Smith, Vice-Provost (Education and Student Affairs)