The results of the National Student Survey (NSS) 2021, commissioned by the Office for Students (OfS) have been published, with The Open University (OU) ranking third amongst 174 participating degree-awarding universities. This is a significant improvement from 17th in 2019, when the university last met the threshold for publication of its results.
The OU maintained its overall satisfaction rating, with an increase from 87% (2019) to 88.24%, which places the OU in the top quartile for overall satisfaction (88%) and 13 percentage points above the sector average (75%).
As the only institution in the survey to operate across all four UK nations, the OU also ranked highly in Wales, Northern Ireland, England and Scotland.
- 1st in Wales (amongst 9 participating universities)
- 1st in Northern Ireland (amongst 4 participating universities)
- 2nd in England (amongst 143 participating universities)
- 2nd in Scotland (amongst 18 participating universities)
With continued strong results in the nations for overall satisfaction:
- Scotland – 92%
- Northern Ireland – 91%
- Wales – 89%
- England – 88%
The OU also performed strongly in individual questions, such as ‘the course is well organised and is running smoothly’ rated at 84.3% agreement – 20.5 percentage points ahead of the sector for 2021, and Assessment and Feedback at 84.9% agreement.
Dr Liz Marr, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Students), commented:
“I am proud of the way we have continued to work hard across the University to make a positive difference for our students. We will keep working closely with our students to act on what they have told us; and we will build on the good work so far to help further improve the overall experience for our current and future learners. A huge thank you to OU staff who helped make this happen and for a continued commitment to helping our diverse group of students reach their study goals.”
Sarah Jones, President of the OU Students Association, added:
“Reflecting on the last year and the challenges faced by our fellow students and the OU, I am delighted that we have been able to maintain our level of student satisfaction. The OU takes student satisfaction seriously and works hard to listen to our needs, in order to deliver the best learning experience. The OU Students Association will continue to work in partnership with the OU to support positive outcomes for students.”
What is the National Student Survey?
The NSS is an annual survey of almost half a million students final-year undergraduates studying for higher education qualifications at publicly funded higher education institutions (HEIs) and further education colleges (FECs) in England and Wales, and HEIs in Northern Ireland and Scotland.The survey consists of 27 questions, which relate to aspects of the student experience – teaching, learning opportunities, assessment and feedback, academic support, organisation and management, learning resources, learning community, student voice and overall satisfaction.
Find out more
For further questions, please contact the Pro-Vice-Chancellors (Students) office: PVCS-Engagement@open.ac.uk
*The analysis in this article was carried out by the OU’s Data & Student Analytics team. A more in-depth analysis of the results will be available in due course.