The National Student Survey (NSS) is an annual survey that asks final year undergraduate students to provide feedback on their programme of study. The survey is commissioned by the Office for Students and undertaken by Ipsos MORI.
Undergraduate finalists studying at UK universities are asked for their views on:
The results help to highlight where departments and the University are doing well and to inform plans for quality improvement.
Students are usually contacted to complete the survey between January and April, and the results of the survey are published on the Discover Uni website.
The 2023 survey ran from Monday 6 February to Sunday 30 April 2023.
Access to NSS data is restricted to staff involved in delivering and supporting teaching because, as well as including analysis of data that is available in the public domain, it includes additional data (see the FAQs tab), which are not published on the DiscoverUni website. These data have been made available for internal use only. They should not be shared with third parties (this includes publicity and marketing materials. HEFCE has also advised that they should not be shared with professional, statutory and regulatory bodies). Texuna are now responsible (on behalf of HEFCE) for the release of NSS data and their guidance on using internal data should be followed.
We have been advised by HEFCE that the additional data may be shared with student representatives (eg at Boards of Studies) as long as they are made aware of the guidance on appropriate use (Texuna guidance) and why they are being allowed to view it (ie to help them fulfill their role and, as with other committee papers, they have responsibility to maintain confidentiality of the unpublished data).
Texuna has also advised that, due to the Survey's privacy statement, online access to the open comments should be further restricted. The open comments are therefore available to Chairs of Boards of Studies, Chairs of Combined Executive Committees and Heads of Department and a limited group of senior managers only. If they wish to share relevant comments with colleagues for the purpose of enhancing the student experience (eg at Boards of Studies or Annual Programme Review meetings) they must do so in accordance with Texuna's guidance. At these meetings, committees may need to look at other departments' open comments (eg, where considering combined programmes); however this should be kept to a minimum and we do not usually expect data relating to other departments to be circulated. Open comments must not be shared with third parties.
Data that is in the public domain may be shared with students and externally.
Official NSS promotional materials for 2023 are available, including:
Consult the staff wiki for advice on resizing and saving your images for the web (staff login required). Images can be resized down as required, but please do not resize up as you will lose image quality.
All those involved in the NSS should be aware of the guidelines regarding inappropriate influence. Staff can remind eligible students to complete the survey but they have a responsibility to ensure that their students are encouraged to give their honest feedback on their student experience in the NSS. Students should not feel that they are being monitored or encouraged to answer the survey in a particular way.
Staff must not:
It is crucial that local survey promotion is neutral and that:
Any promotional materials that are produced in addition to those provided by Ipsos MORI must be checked for suitability in accordance with NSS guidance. A senior member of staff should sign-off all materials before they are used.
Where a concern or allegation is raised, it will be investigated by the Office for Students. If an investigation were to find that promotional activities and marketing materials had resulted in inappropriate influence, whether intentional or unintentional, the integrity of the NSS data could be called into question.
The OfS (in partnership with the relevant funding partners) could take action to suppress the affected NSS data for the institution. This would mean that no NSS data would be published for the affected courses at the institution in the specific year and, as a result, it would not be available for marketing activities, learning enhancement work or inclusion on Unistats, the Office for Students website, etc.
NSS promotion Slides 2023 (PDF , 93kb) - A guide to promoting the survey.
University Teaching Committee has recommended that an institutional incentive of a charity payment of £1 be donated for every student who completes the survey. York University Students Union (YUSU) have selected their charity partner for this year, IDAS (idas.org.uk), to be the recipient of this donation.
IDAS is the largest specialist charity in the North supporting people affected by domestic abuse and sexual violence.
If you have any queries, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Why is there a difference between the number of our students who graduated and the sample contacted to complete the Survey?
The students that are contacted are those expected to graduate based on the return that the University makes to HESA in July. We are unable to take account of any changes to students' circumstances after July, so students who withdraw in their final year, take a leave of absence, repeat a year, or transfer to a four year programme after July will still be included. Students will only be surveyed once.
What are the additional (unpublished) data?
The additional data that are made available to institutions and students' unions for internal use only, include:
Can we share additional (unpublished) data relating to other departments with staff and student representatives?
Your department/Board of Studies should consider data relating to other departments where relevant (eg relating to combined programmes); however, we do not expect data relating to other departments to be circulated (especially the open comments).
Why can't we share the additional (unpublished) data with the wider student body?
We have sought advice on this from HEFCE. They believe that sharing the unpublished data with the student body would not fit within the Texuna guidance for use of the data. This is for two reasons:
HEFCE do however recognise the value of these data for quality enhancement, and the role student representatives play in such discussions. Therefore the data may be shared with student representatives as long as they are made aware of the terms and conditions of use and the reasons why they are able to view it.
At York, the results of the Survey are considered initially by a small group of staff and Students' Union representatives led by the Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Learning, Teaching and Information on behalf of University Teaching Committee (UTC). The group analyses and draws out the implications of the results for institutional quality enhancement activities and provides feedback to departments.
The results and some analysis of results are circulated to Heads of Department and Chairs of Boards of Studies in the summer. Departments are asked to consider the results (with staff and students) and to keep UTC informed of their response and any actions taken through the annual programme review process.
Who to contact
For survey queries:
- Sally O'Connor
Quality Support Officer
+44 (0)1904 323632
For enquiries under the Freedom of Information Act:
- Charles Fonge
University Records Manager and Archivist
+44 (0)1904 321168