UCL News


Encourage your final year undergraduate students to participate in the NSS

9 March 2017

The National Student Survey (NSS) continues until 30 April.

NSS logo  

The NSS has proved to be a really powerful tool, helping us to make improvements to every aspect of the student experience. It is the basis for our Annual Student Experience Review (ASER), which has helped us to give targeted support to Departments, and it has driven change across UCL.  

Our NSS response rate currently stands at 36%. However, we need to deliver a 50% response rate for our results to be published.  If a department does not achieve 50%, they will not receive their results. If we do not achieve 50% overall as an institution, then no department will receive results. This would mean that the great improvements in teaching and teaching support made by departments will go unrecognised. 

As well as helping us to improve UCL education, NSS results have an impact on our reputation (through our performance in league tables) and our finances. NSS results are part of the metrics to be used to assess teaching quality in universities through the government's new Teaching Excellence Framework. When tuition fees of £9,000 were introduced in 2012, no provision was made for the effect of inflation. This means that over the last 5 years, the tuition fee income we receive from each student has decreased in real terms.  The government recognizes this. But rather than changing policy to enable all universities to adjust fees in line with inflation, it has decided to use the outcomes of the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) to determine which universities can track inflation and by how much.  In future years, only universities with a gold or silver TEF rating will be able to track inflation. Those with bronze will increase their fees by half of inflation. If we don't reach 50% participation, the improvements we have made to the student experience will not be reflected in our TEF rating (as TEF will use NSS results from previous years).

How can you encourage your students to participate in the NSS?

Sally Mackenzie, Head of Student Engagement, Office of the Vice-Provost (Education and Student Affairs)