Essex is top in East Anglia for positive student feedback

  • Date

    Mon 14 Aug 23

Student being supported by member of staff

Essex is the top in East Anglia for overall student positivity according to the results of the National Student Survey (NSS).

Students were asked how positive they were about their courses across seven key themes through questions in this year’s NSS and Times Higher Education has calculated an overall ‘positivity’ measure across all questions.

Essex is ranked 28th nationally when compared against all English broad discipline universities through the Times Higher analysis and the top in East Anglia - ahead of other universities in Cambridgeshire, Essex, Norfolk and Suffolk.

Essex is in the top 20 nationally for three NSS questions - IT resources and facilities, course organisation and subject specific resources. Essex Students’ Union is also ranked 16th for its effectiveness in representing students.

Departments seeing particularly strong performances include East 15 Acting School which saw more than 95% of students positive about teaching and 90% or more of students positive about learning opportunities and academic support.

Edge Hotel School saw 90% or more students responding positively to questions around teaching, assessment and feedback, learning opportunities, academic support, organisation and management and learning resources.

More than 2,400 Essex students have fed back their views on their experience at the University of Essex through the NSS.

Pro-Vice Chancellor (Education) Professor Madeline Eacott said: “I’m delighted to see we are among the very best for positive feedback from students after seeing improvements across all sections. “We’ve been focusing our efforts on assessment and feedback, and academic support so I am really pleased with our progress in those areas. We also saw a significant rise in positive feedback for the learning opportunities we deliver.

“These results show our students really appreciate the great educational experience they get at Essex and the detailed feedback will help us to continue to strengthen our offer to students.”

The National Student Survey gives students the chance to look back on their higher education experience and speak out on everything from the teaching on their course, access to resources and equipment, and even about the student voice.

When looking at individual questions Essex is ranked in the top 30 for 10 questions covering everything from organisation of the course and IT facilities to access to library resources.

Professor Eacott said: “Listening to our students is incredibly important to us and we will be working with the Students’ Union and our staff to use all the information we’ve gathered through the NSS to benefit our students in the coming year.

“It is great to see the feedback from students when they are asked about whether their courses have developed the skills they think they will need for their future. We really pride ourselves on supporting students to develop the skills and knowledge they will need for the careers they aspire to through extensive placement opportunities on and off our campuses, dedicated support for entrepreneurs, a huge programme of skills workshops and our engagement with businesses.”

Note: ‘English Broad Discipline’, iss defined by the ‘Cluster Analysis of Higher Education Institutions’ for Research England, 2018, updated 2022.

Further information

The full survey data is released by the Office for Students and can be viewed on its website.

Themes are based around multiple questions.

Assessment and feedback

  • How clear were the marking criteria used to assess your work?
  • How fair has the marking and assessment been on your course?
  • How well have assessments allowed you to demonstrate what you have learned?
  • How often have you received assessment feedback on time?
  • How often does feedback help you to improve your work?

Academic support

  • How easy was it to contact teaching staff when you needed to?
  • How well have teaching staff supported your learning?

Organisation and management

  • How well organised is your course?
  • How well were any changes to teaching on your course communicated?

Learning resources

  • How well have the IT resources and facilities supported your learning?
  • How well have the library resources (e.g. books, online services and learning spaces) supported your learning?
  • How easy is it to access subject specific resources (e.g. equipment, facilities, software) when you need them?

Student voice

  • To what extent do you get the right opportunities to give feedback on your course?
  • To what extent are students' opinions about the course valued by staff?
  • How clear is it that students' feedback on the course is acted on?

Students' Union

How well does the students' union (association or guild) represent students' academic interests?