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Posted 16.07.20

NSS 2020 – Rise in overall student satisfaction levels

By Phillip Buchan

We are pleased that across the 2020 National Student Survey (NSS), the annual survey of nearly half a million students across the UK, Plymouth College of Art has received improved scores since 2019 in seven of the eight major categories. This means that this year students have ranked the college higher than the previous year in the top categories such as “the teaching on my course”, “learning opportunities”, “academic support”, “organisation and management”, “learning resources”, “learning community”, and “student voice”. 

We take the Student Voice survey and NSS results very seriously and make continual use of internal feedback from students on all programmes, allowing no room for complacency and taking ongoing steps to address the issues highlighted by students whilst we continue our work to raise levels of quality across the college.

High levels of student engagement

We take pride that 80% of Plymouth College of Art students completed the NSS this year, significantly above the national average of just 69%, demonstrating the high rate of engagement from our students.  As a small and specialist institution we have the benefit of maintaining a close dialogue with students, which is why 85% responded that they feel they have had the right opportunities to provide feedback on their course.

84% of Plymouth College of Art students felt that “The skills I have developed during my time in Higher Education will be useful for my future career” and 85% felt that “My course has provided me with opportunities to explore ideas or concepts in depth”. Additionally, 80% of Plymouth College of Art students felt that “the Institution has helped me develop my confidence as a creative practitioner.”

We are proud of the high scores for overall satisfaction achieved in the NSS (2020):

With an overall satisfaction rate of 96 %, BA (Hons) Commercial Photography for Fashion, Advertising & Editorial recieved 100% student satisfaction in the categories: “Staff are good at explaining things”, “My course has provided me with opportunities to explore ideas or concepts in depth”, “The course is well organised and running smoothly”, “I have had the right opportunities to work with other students as part of my course”, “staff value students’ views and opinions about the course”, “The skills I have developed during my time in Higher Education will be useful for my future career”, “The Institution provides an inclusive and supportive learning environment”, and “The Institution has helped me develop my confidence as a creative practitioner”, based on 100% of students completing the survey.

With an overall satisfaction rate of 96%, BA (Hons) Fashion Media & Marketing had 100% student satisfaction in the categories: “My course has provided me with opportunities to bring information and ideas together from different topics”, “Feedback on my work has been timely ”, and  “I have received helpful comments on my work”.

With an overall satisfaction rate of 92%, BA (Hons) Fashion had 100% student satisfaction in the categories: “The course is intellectually stimulating”, “My course has challenged me to achieve my best work”, “My course has provided me with opportunities to explore ideas or concepts in depth”, “The library resources (e.g. books, online services and learning spaces) have supported my learning well”, and “I feel part of a community of staff and students”.

Excellent learning opportunities

At College level our students have an overall satisfaction rating of 84% for our learning opportunities, which include the statements: “my course has provided me with opportunities to explore ideas or concepts in depth”, “my course has provided me with opportunities to bring information and ideas together from different topics”, and “my course has provided me with opportunities to apply what I have learnt”.

Specialist creative resources, facilities and equipment

At college level our students have an overall satisfaction rating of 83% for our learning resources. 85% of students said “I have been able to access course-specific resources (e.g. equipment, facilities, software, collections) when I needed to”. This includes ability to access high-quality specialist resources and equipment when needed, such as Fab Lab Plymouth, our triple-height drawing studio, printmaking studios, printed textile design studios, Digital Print Bureau and our range of other industry-standard workshops and facilities.

Responding to student feedback

We value the feedback from students, and the time they have taken to complete the National Student Survey. Every year we spend a significant amount of time analysing the detailed comments and feedback that students give us for every course at Plymouth College of Art.

A cross-college group meets regularly to respond to the voice of our students and to improve teaching and learning based on student feedback. The NSS gives focus to this work, allowing us to target our efforts in the areas and for the subjects that students identify in their feedback.

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