Aberystwyth student satisfaction remains level in NSS results

ABERYSTWYTH University’s satisfaction results have remained level for the first time in four years.

Aberystwyth University Old College Photo - Tomos Nolan

Aberystwyth University Old College
Photo – Tomos Nolan

The National Student Survey (NSS) results for 2014 indicate that satisfaction levels have remained at 83%, the same figure as last year.

In previous years, the University has seen a fall in satisfaction each year. With preceding results being as high as 92% in 2010, before declining to 89% in 2011, 87% in 2012 and 83% in 2013.

The survey, taken by undergraduate students in their final year, gives students the opportunity to have their say on how satisfied they are with their University in a number of areas.

86% of Aberystwyth University students said they were satisfied with the quality of teaching on their course, up from 84% in 2013. Satisfaction with learning resources also increased to 82%.

At departmental level, there were some notable performances with Computer Science, Psychology, Sport and Exercise Science, Physics, Welsh and Theatre, Film and Television Studies registering significant increases in satisfaction with the quality of teaching.

Departments with high overall satisfaction ratings include Mathematics, Welsh, Geography and Earth Sciences, Psychology, Sport and Exercise Science, International Politics and Physics.

Pro Vice-Chancellor Rebecca Davies said;

“This year’s NSS clearly shows that students are beginning to reap the benefits of the new facilities that are coming on stream at Aberystwyth University.

Aberystwyth University had a record intake in 2011, however this caused an accommodation problem leading to the introduction of bunk beds to student rooms that year. This caused concerns with students, leading to a number of complaints.

However, the University is investing over £100m in three major projects. These include the £45m Fferm Penglais student residences, which upon opening is said to be some of the best residences seen in the UK. Secondly, the University is also planning to invest £35m in an innovation and enterprise campus at Gogerddan and £20m in the redevelopment of the iconic Old College. Davies continued to express that the University is investing in upgrades for the future:

“More than £8m is being invested in new teaching and learning facilities. A £3m investment programme to upgrade teaching rooms on the Penglais campus is underway; this is in addition to the £5m already invested in new teaching and learning facilities during 2013, including a major upgrade to the University’s Llanbadarn Campus.

“As well as new facilities, we are investing in staff, rewarding commitment to teaching and learning, and supporting lecturers and students through exciting and innovative new initiatives such as the new £200,000 Aber Academi.  This unit is creating multimedia learning resources using audio, video and animation to enrich the student learning experience – and makes Aberystwyth University accessible to all.”

“Our students tell us that they love Aber, and our graduates, both recent and of old, hold the University dear.  The University is addressing many years of underinvestment in key areas affecting the student experience and  this year’s NSS shows that we are well on the way to restoring Aberystwyth’s reputation as one of the best places in the world to be a student.”

Students’ Union Education Officer Grace Burton said:

“The NSS is by no means a perfect measure of any or all universities, but it can go some way to indicating areas that the University should focus attention on to ensure that students get the most out of their time here. It is reassuring to see that students are perceiving improvements in the quality of the teaching they receive and the learning resources available to them at Aberystwyth, but I hope that the University doesn’t become complacent about anything just because some elements of its NSS score has improved.

“Completing the NSS should never be the first time that a student feels they can voice their concerns about their experience. This summer I am working with colleagues in the University to ensure the student Academic Representation system is as strong as it can be for the new academic year; we know that many students ‘love Aber’, but the University needs to be sure to listen to those who don’t.  I hope that over the coming months the Uni invests wholeheartedly in its staff and students to ensure we see an even bigger improvement next year.”

NSS-LogoElsewhere in Wales, student satisfaction has either stayed the same or improved. Overall satisfaction in Wales has increased to 85%.

Beth Button, president of the National Union of Students (NUS) in Wales, said:

“We’re really pleased to see that overall student satisfaction in institutions in Wales has increased, however Wales is still lagging behind the rest of the UK in many areas of the NSS.”

The Open University retained its place at the top of the Welsh NSS, with Bangor University being joint top for the first time with both institutions having a satisfaction figure of 91%. They are closely followed by Cardiff and Swansea Universities, both on 89%. The new University of South Wales which launched last year received 80% satisfaction, while Glyndwr is on 78% which is the lowest in Wales. The full table can be seen below:

University Satisfaction (%)
The Open University 91%
Bangor University 91%
Cardiff University 89%
Swansea University 89%
Cardiff Metropolitan University 86%
Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama 86%
Aberystwyth University 83%
University of Wales Trinity Saint David 81%
University of South Wales 80%
Glyndwr University 78%

You can find the full results from the 2014 NSS by following this link.