The National Student Survey - supporting the use of data for enhancement
The National Student Survey (NSS) provides a major source of information on students' perceptions of their learning experiences. We support institutions, faculties, departments and the sector in using this evidence effectively to improve learning and teaching.
We help institutions to contextualise and understand their NSS data in the light of other sources of information, to use the results to inform enhancement activities, and to begin meaningful dialogue with students about their experiences:
- The Institutional Working Group provides a space for informed and informal discussion and sharing of practice around the opportunities and challenges posed by the NSS
- This group has produced two sets of case studies, from 2007 (DOC 235KB) and 2010 (PDF 342KB). 'Making it count', a report based on the expertise and experience of the group members is now available
- The HEA is currently developing a programme of institutional consultancy around the NSS, which will focus on helping institutions to develop and use relevant and robust evidence that can guide institutional strategies for learning and teaching
- A full report of the 2011 data is available to download
Faculties and Departments
We help faculties and departments to interpret their data in the light of the strong discipline influence on students' experiences:
- In previous years the HEA's network of Subject Centres has produced a range of subject-focused resources around the NSS, these are available through the Resources Centre
- Following on from the work of the Subject Centres, in 2011-12 the HEA is producing a range of short reports providing analysis and interpretation of the NSS results at the subject level. STEM reports, Health Sciences reports, Arts and Humanities reports and Social Sciences reports are available.
- A change programme was undertaken which brought departments together to help them explore and improve their students' experiences, using their NSS results in conjunction with other sources of data
We help to inform the sector's approach to, and use of, the NSS, and initiate and contribute to policy discussions around the nature and use of student experience information:
- The HEA produces a range of research and policy papers around the NSS and student experience data. For example, in past years the HEA has produced a detailed statistical analysis of the NSS undertaken by Herb Marsh and Jacqueline Cheng (PDF 970KB), and the influential Dimensions of Quality (PDF 626KB) written by Graham Gibbs. The HEA's publications can be found in the Resources Centre
All of these strands of work are brought together by the HEA's annual Surveys for Enhancement conference. Presentations from the 2013 conference can be found at: