In the same survey, some of the top universities in the UK, such as Edinburgh, Bristol, the LSE and Manchester all fell into the bottom 25 for student satisfaction, despite high overall rankings in the university league tables. This news has reconfirmed the view held by many that league tables are not always the most important factor in choosing a university.
Almost 70% of last yearÂ’s finalists took part in the NSS, something which has been attributed at least in part to the incentive of a Â£5 College Card Topup from the College.
The University was rated highly in many areas, achieving a score of 70% or above in 16 of the 22 questions, and only dropping below 60% in two categories.
The poll, conducted by the leading research firm Ipsos MORI, showed HollowayÂ’s Classics department rated in the top 5 in the country for student satisfaction in the subject.
The Music, Geography, Science, Computer Science, Geology, Human Geography, Psychology, History and Languages departments were all given 90% or above for student satisfaction. HollowayÂ’s lowest scoring department was the Media Arts Department, although this still achieved a very respectable 70%.
Overall, HollowayÂ’s highest marks can be seen in the Course Teaching section. 89% of students felt that staff were Â“good at explaining thingsÂ” and 80% felt the staff helped make the subject interesting. 84% felt that teaching staff were Â“enthusiasticÂ” and 85% felt the course was intellectually stimulating.
The University underperformed slightly on the quality of assessment and feedback, with the highest score being 72% agreeing that assessment arrangements and marking are fair. The lowest mark of the whole survey was seen when only 53% of students agreed that feedback on work was prompt, followed closely by only 54% agreeing that this feedback helped clarify things not previously understood.
Academic Support was highly rated, with 72% of respondents believing they had received sufficient advice and support, 84% suggesting they had been able to contact staff when necessary, and 69% agreeing that advice on study choices was readily available.
Holloway again scored highly for Organisation and University Management, particularly for the efficiency of timetabling and course organisation.
The IT services were rated as excellent, with 83% of students agreeing that they are able to access IT resources when necessary. The Library looks to be an area in need of investment, with only 69% of students believing the resources available to be good enough for their needs. It is, of course, important to bear in mind that the NSS 2008 was conducted before this summersÂ’ Â£1 million investment in Bedford Library.
Finally, the College scored well in Personal Development. 75% of students agreed that their course had given them confidence in presenting themselves and tackling unfamiliar situations, as well as improving their communication skills.
The NSS is an important tool for the university to gauge where they must invest in the coming years.
It is reassuring to note that, contrary to the UniversityÂ’s overall performance in the league tables over the past 3 years, student satisfaction scores are showing a marked improvement year-on-year.