Page last updated at 13:36 GMT, Thursday, 11 September 2008 14:36 UK

Students praise course teaching

The student survey aims to monitor quality in higher education

A survey of final-year degree students in the UK shows 83% were satisfied with the teaching on their course.

Over 210,000 students took part in the in the government-backed National Student Survey, which aims to give information to prospective students.

In May the survey's legitimacy was questioned after it emerged students were told to give good ratings.

Staff at Kingston University were recorded urging students to exaggerate their ratings of courses.

An audio recording, posted online, showed students were told that a poor rating would devalue their degree and "nobody is going to want to employ you".

Hundreds of e-mails subsequently sent to the BBC News website suggested this was not an isolated incident, with students elsewhere reporting such "scare tactics".

'Specific case'

But a spokesman for the Higher Education Funding Council for England (Hefce) said the Kingston matter was a "very specific case".

"It [the National Student Survey] is a well-respected survey, it's conducted by Ipsos Mori and genuinely provides useful information for prospective students and for universities," he said.

Hefce was investigating the incident and would be writing to all universities to ensure that this did not happen again, he added.

Staff continue to deliver an excellent higher education experience for students
Sally Hunt, University and College Union

The poll, which is in its fourth year, showed satisfaction among students at English universities has improved slightly, with 83% being content with teaching on their course in 2008, compared to 82% of students in 2007.

In total, 82% were satisfied with their university experience overall. In 2007, 81% were satisfied overall.

Of those surveyed in 2008, 64% were happy with the assessment and feedback given, 81% valued the learning resources available and 73% approved of the academic support offered.

The figures are similar to those for the UK as a whole. Across the UK, 83% were satisfied with their course.

Hefce chief executive Professor David Eastwood said: "The National Student Survey is a valuable exercise as part of a robust quality framework for higher education."

Minister for students, Delyth Morgan said the levels of satisfaction were a welcome testament to the quality of the teaching and learning available.

"Our students deserve the best and these results show that universities and colleges are meeting students' expectations and delivering a high quality experience."

The National Union of Students said the survey had been important in bringing about institutional change to the benefit of students.

Professor Rick Trainor, president of Universities UK, said: "It is very pleasing to see yet another increase in the overall satisfaction rate among students - demonstrating that universities are listening to their students."

General secretary of the University and College Union, Sally Hunt, said: "The results of this survey are a testament to the incredible work being done by lecturers and academic-related staff in our universities.

"Despite rising class sizes and an ever-increasing administrative burden, staff continue to deliver an excellent higher education experience for students."

Universities face survey warning
16 May 08 |  Education
University staff faking survey
13 May 08 |  Education
Students claim survey dishonesty
13 May 08 |  Education

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