The National Student Survey: how you can help

20 March 2014

National Student Survey logo

The 2014 National Student Survey (NSS) has now been running for almost 2 months, and concludes on 30 April. There is an imperative to encourage eligible students to complete the survey before term ends and their minds turn to revision for their examinations.

UCL’s participation level currently stands at 56%, 4% up on the same point last year, so I would like to thank all those who have worked hard so far to encourage students to complete the NSS, and facilitate participation. Please keep up the good work.

The NSS remains an institutional priority and we are aiming to increase UCL’s participation level well beyond that of last year’s 62%. Increasing the response rate of our students will provide UCL with much more representative data to enable us to be confident that we are addressing their true concerns, both at institutional and departmental level.

I would like to remind you that every department which achieves a 72% response rate or higher will receive a cash prize to be spent on the eligible students. So far, 6 departments have been awarded funds, with the Bartlett School of Planning achieving a 100% response rate for the second year running. Another 6 departments are very close to reaching the 72% threshold. In your interactions with eligible students, please remind them of this incentive, and reassure them that the money will arrive in time to benefit them.

The Provost has also offered an extra incentive, with any department achieving more than 80% participation and greater than 90% overall satisfaction, receiving a Provost’s commendation and an invitation to a celebratory reception.

As well as reminding your students of these incentives, you may wish to use some of the following methods to engage your students:

  • Reminding students about the NSS when they come to hand in coursework;
  • Publicising the NSS in lectures and seminars;
  • Enlisting your Student Academic Representatives (StARs) and your student society 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;
  • Booking a cluster for completion and entering the event into the students’ timetables.

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)