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The National Student Survey (NSS) is an annual survey available to all students in their final year of study at Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The survey was introduced in 2005 in order to “gather feedback on the quality of students' courses in order to contribute to public accountability as well as to help inform the choices of future applicants to higher education.

The NSS responses available via the HEFCE website are aggregated by JACS codes that are commonly used in providing statistical analyses in UK Higher Education. However, at UK HEIs, programmes of study classified as ‘Materials’ do not always correspond directly with these JACS codes. In order to provide the most accurate data for the Materials community, the UKCME obtained the full NSS datasets for 2008, 2009 and 2010 via the Higher Education Academy. The full datasets comprise the data from around 400,000 undergraduate students in the UK for each year and these are not publicly available. Using the full dataset the UKCME was able to identify responses just for the Materials programmes in the UK.

This report found that students rank availability and quality of learning resources as an area of particular strength across almost all the Materials providers. Students recognise and value the support received in terms of availability of library and IT resources and also access to the specialised equipment and facilities required in this highly technical discipline. Students also value the teaching and learning they receive particularly that ‘staff are good at explaining things’ and ‘staff are enthusiastic about what they are teaching’.

Of the bottom ranked scores, ‘Assessment and Feedback’ ranks lowest although NSS statements regarding ‘Assessment and Feedback’ typically score lowest across all disciplines. The results for the whole Materials community appear to show improvements in assessment and feedback over the last three years.

Click here to download the PDF of the report


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