National Student Survey: a record response from Swansea
A joint effort by the University's students and staff has ensured Swansea's highest ever response rate.
The National Student Survey (NSS) – an annual review of what students think about their courses – takes into account several different factors, including teaching quality, academic support, management, resources and personal development.
The importance of the Survey as an indicator to the outside world of what it is like to study at universities throughout the UK has grown rapidly since it was introduced in 2005.
At Swansea, the survey forms part of the revised Quality Assurance Framework and gathers feedback from all final-year students about a range of key topics related to their course. The results of the survey are published on the Unistats website (www.unistats.co.uk), which was developed by UCAS and has a clear focus on providing information for applicants to undergraduate schemes.
Results of the Survey are also published in The Guardian, and the Times Good University Guide uses the NSS as the sole indicator of 'student satisfaction', the factor which – alongside the RAE score – carries the heaviest weighting in ranking universities and their subject areas.
In Swansea the task of raising awareness of the NSS and ensuring that its results are analysed effectively is undertaken by the Review of National Student Survey and Omnibus Survey Sub-Committee, which brings together academic staff, members of the Academic Registry and students.
Over the past few months the Committee has concentrated on strategies to ensure that as many final-year students as possible respond to the survey; a response rate below 50% in any given subject means that it will not appear on Unistats.
As well as adopting conventional approaches, the committee gave free rein to the Students' Union to use its imagination in developing an advertising campaign to highlight the NSS ... with the result that the Union's sabbatical officers recently dressed as airline cabin crew! The Students' Union campaign, which centred on an airport-style 'Departure Lounge', owed much to British Airways in design, but the campaign ran rather more smoothly than the launch of Terminal 5 at Heathrow.
Dr David Basker, Chair of the NSS Sub-Committee, said: "The result of the campaign, and of the valuable contributions of staff across the University in alerting students to the NSS, is that this year's overall response rate of 70.45% is the highest ever in Swansea."
"I would like to express my thanks to everyone who has helped to achieve this record. Meanwhile, any ideas for next year’s advertising campaign will be gratefully received!"