Teaching & Learning


UCL to run National Student Survey as usual in 2021

21 October 2020

Now in its 15th year, the NSS gives valuable insights into student experience and helps prioritise education improvements

Masked student studying on campus

UCL’s Student Partnerships Team will promote the National Student Survey (NSS) as usual this year, with a UCL-wide campaign, supported by our fantastic network of liaison officers, and offering the same incentives to departments that reach participation targets.

The NSS is run by the Office for Students (OfS), which has for 2021 removed the requirement for universities to promote the survey internally to their students.

Nonetheless, we have decided to go ahead with our UCL-wide campaign, for several reasons:

  • The data are a valuable driver of education improvement, and are used in the ASER process and SSCCs by staff and students to set meaningful enhancement targets;
  • Closing the feedback loop, through the ‘You shaped UCL’ campaign preceding the NSS and departmental promotion contextualising the survey;
  • Community building in departments,  through the incentives for participation;
  • The published data will continue to be used in university rankings (and OfS is retaining the 50% response rate for publication)
  • To give a better experience for our students: our campaign promotes early completion of the survey, which means students don’t get contacted by Ipsos MORI (who continue to contact non-responders)

The healthy response rate achieved for the 2020 PTES shows that our process works even in these difficult times.

In September 2020, OfS announced ‘a radical, root and branch review’ of the NSS, prompted by concerns about how the survey may be ‘creating burden and impacting on standards.’

NSS 2021 runs from early January to end of April.

Professor Deborah Gill, Pro-Vice-Provost for Student Experience, said: 

UCL staff have made meaningful progress in improving the student experience over the last couple of years. In these most challenging of times,  our teachers and support staff have work tirelessly to put our students and their education first. Feedback from the NSS helps us understand how our actions have supported our undergraduates and identify how we can continue to improve.