Do student satisfaction ratings affect university choices? New evidence about the National Student Survey
By Dr Steve Gibbons, London School of Economics
The season is here when next year’s school leavers start filling in their UCAS forms and applying to university. Yet, as any of us who know someone in this position will agree, picking a university is not always easy. For most subject areas, there are a large number of universities to choose from, and making a choice can involve a lot of research.
To help students with these difficult choices, The National Student Survey (NSS) was introduced in the mid-2000s to provide information about students’ satisfaction with their degree course. This survey has captured the attention of university lecturers and administrators, underpinned by concerns about the impact of scores on future recruitment. NSS scores are also one of several quality indicators used in the “league tables” published in newspapers and guidebooks. But do students really take any notice of satisfaction scores in making their university choices, or are other factors more important?
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