The 2022 National Student Survey found that undergraduate graduates are more satisfied with their higher education experience than during the pandemic years, with a marked increase in the perceived quality of IT resources.

A survey of 325,000 students across the UK found an increase in students who ‘rat[e] their access to resources is positive, while views of teaching quality still lag behind pre-pandemic levels.”

Among English language providers, there were “some general improvements in students’ views of the quality of their education”, said the Office for Students, the HE regulator. The regulator noticed “significant differences” between courses, with declining positive ratings for medicine and dentistry, physical sciences and teaching quality.

More than three quarters (77%) in England agreed that IT resources support learning well, up from 72% in 2021. Compared to last year, more students said that library resources, including online resources and digital deposits, as well as course-specific content, including facilities, software, and collections, were able to support their learning. Overall satisfaction with learning resources increased from 73% to 81%.

Eighty percent said their teachers were easy to get in touch with. But assessment and feedback scores were generally lower than other aspects of the HE experience. Only 66% agreed that feedback on their work was timely.

Universities and colleges – in general – have been working hard to return to face-to-face learning and ensure students have access to the facilities they need to learn successfully
– Susan Lapworth, Student Affairs Office

Susan Lapworth, interim chief executive of the Office of Student Affairs, said: “This year’s graduates have borne the brunt of the pandemic and have been affected by lockdowns and other restrictions on student life for much of their time at university. The NSS played an important role in exploring student views during this extremely difficult time for students and staff at the University. This year’s results show that there is more to do to improve students’ perceptions of the quality of their course to pre-pandemic levels. This should become an immediate priority for many universities and colleges.

“Universities and colleges – in general – have worked hard to return to face-to-face learning and provide students with access to the facilities they need to learn successfully. It is therefore to be welcomed that there has been a marked increase in the proportion of students who agree that the resources offered by universities and colleges are adequate. But on this – and on all indicators – there are significant differences in students’ views depending on the subject they are studying.

“Every university and college will now want to reflect on their results to ensure that the quality of courses remains high. The OfS is stepping up its activities to ensure that students from all backgrounds have a high quality education and we will build on the NSS results to inform our work.”

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