Using the National Student Survey for enhancement

We support institutions, faculties/departments and the sector as a whole to make the most of the NSS as a tool for enhancement. We run events, publish resources including research and case studies, and we undertake consultancy activities; all of these are aimed at helping colleagues to understand the right (and wrong) ways of using the NSS to support the improvement of student learning.


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 detailed and practical report based on the expertise and experience of the group members, was published in October 2012.
  • 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 NSS 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 produced over 100 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

The Sector

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:

Further information