Teaching & Learning


Survey results show improvements in every area of UCL student experience

25 January 2022

The 2021-22 Student Experience Survey, UCL's annual survey of penultimate year undergraduates, shows encouraging results across all categories.

Three students walking, smiling, carrying coffees

The Student Experience Survey (SES) questions mirror those in the National Student Survey (NSS) completed by final-year undergraduates. The SES also includes some additional questions on UCL’s support services and offers students the option to leave open-text comments.

The SES is a particularly valuable source of student feedback as departments can review and respond to issues raised in the results and comments before students take the NSS the following year.

Response rate

More than 1,000 UCL students completed the survey between 15 November and 17 December 2021. This is a higher overall turnout than last year’s survey, although the response rate has declined slightly year-on-year to 15% UCL-wide.

Improvements in all areas

The trends in UCL’s results were overwhelmingly positive, with scores improving in each of the NSS-style question clusters:

  • Overall Satisfaction climbed to 79% (an increase of seven percentage points since last year)
  • Satisfaction with Teaching climbed to 79% (up one point year-on-year)
  • Satisfaction with Learning Opportunities climbed to 76% (up four points)
  • Satisfaction with Assessment and Feedback climbed to 63% (up 10 points)
  • Satisfaction with Academic Support rose to 73% (up seven points)
  • Satisfaction with Organisation and Management also reached 73% (up four points)
  • Satisfaction with Learning Resources rose to 83% (up 14 points)
  • Students’ satisfaction with their Learning Community climbed to 64% (up 12 points)
  • Satisfaction with Student Voice opportunities and impact rose to 61% (up one point)

Encouragingly, UCL-wide scores in Teaching, Assessment and Feedback, Academic Support, Organisation and Management now exceed their pre-pandemic levels – indicating a broadly positive reception for our approach to education this year. These improved scores reflect the immense efforts by staff to provide a rich academic experience amid ongoing uncertainty.

Some of the improved scores, particularly the sharp rises in Learning Resources and Learning Community results, may also reflect students’ excitement at being back on campus. The previous edition of the survey took place in February-March 2021, when lockdown-enforced closures of libraries and learning resources were in place.  

Whilst it’s too soon to confirm a causal link, the large increase in Assessment and Feedback scores coincides with widespread use of online exams and the introduction of the AssessmentUCL platform for centrally-managed assessments. Analysis of the open text comments will provide a clearer picture of what has driven the 10-point improvement and where there is still room for improvement.

Download the full survey results

You can download the full SES 2021-22 results at department, faculty and programme levels (UCL log-in required).

Anonymised open text comments from the survey will be shared with the relevant academic departments and support services in February. These open text comments may be helpful in illuminating some of the reasons behind quantitative results.

Acting on the results

SES results can be discussed in Staff-Student Consultative Committees and also form part of the data set for the Annual Student Experience Review (ASER) in each academic department.

Staff in departments and faculties may also be interested in setting up focus groups with students to discuss the SES results and how to make further improvements in partnership with students. If you’re interested in setting up a focus group to discuss SES 2021-22 results, please contact the Education and Student Experience team who can offer advice and support.  

The 2022 NSS, meanwhile, is now open until 30 April for final-year undergraduates. A 50% response rate is required for publication of results at programme-level, and staff can find promotional materials on the Templates and Guides page.