Centre for Learning and Teaching

NSS17 logoNational Student Survey

The National Student Survey (NSS) is a survey of students across the United Kingdom in the final year of an undergraduate programme.

The first NSS took place in 2005 and it is now firmly established as an important annual event each spring. We highly value the opinions of our students as it gives them a chance to have their say about what they liked and did not like about their learning experience during their time in higher education.

Student feedback from the NSS is used to compile year-on-year comparative data that:

  • is published on unistats.direct.gov.uk so that institutional results can be compared
  • allows prospective students and their advisors make more informed choices of where and what to study
  • helps the University and Students' Union to facilitate best practice and enhance the student learning experience

The NSS and Key Information Set (KIS)

What is KIS? KIS has been introduced by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) in order to provide detailed information to prospective students about higher education. Every higher education institution is now required by HEFCE to publish their KIS data for each undergraduate programme planned from the academic year 2013/14. NSS data forms an important component of KIS.

You can find KIS data for each of programmes in the Study section of the University's website, where it is available for  prospective and current students to view.

Read further information about KIS provided by the Office for Policy and Planning

How do we use the results at the University of Bath?

The NSS responses from our students help us find areas where the student learning experience could be improved. Every academic department works closely with its student representatives from the Staff Student Liaison Committee (SSLC) to develop an annual action plan to improve the student experience.

Read more about how we respond to student feedback and ensure we are Better@Bath

The NSS timetable

Each year the NSS is launched nationally at the beginning of January. We work with our Students’ Union to agree the survey dates. The approximate schedule for this year is:

  • start date: 6 February 2017
  • close date: 30 April 2017

See a detailed breakdown of the NSS timetable

Maximising response rates

Weekly response rate figures are provided by Ipsos-Mori that enable us to target our marketing and promotional activities to specific departments and programmes to ensure they reach the thresholds for publication.

To help you keep up to date with the response rates from students in your Department, we regularly provide updates on progress to Heads of Department and Directors of Teaching for use in their department as appropriate.

Encouraging student participation

In order to collect the most accurate data possible we want to encourage a high number of responses from our students. Historically, we have had one of the best response rates nationally amongst higher education institutions.

One of the ways we achieve this response rate is by developing an environment of open and honest feedback and by highlighting the NSS campaign with students.

We promote the NSS to our students through a varety of institutional events and promotions. If you would like to further raise the profile of the NSS with students in your Department, there will be a range of marketing materials made available for your use.

Feeding back to students

Responding to student feedback is an effective way of encouraging participation in future surveys. It is expected that results of the NSS will be fed back to the student body by departments and their Staff Student Liaison Committee so that students can see that the University has been responsive to their feedback.

The QA Code of Practice on the Annual Monitoring of Units and Programmes (QA51) outlines how academic departments should respond to the data from NSS.