The Student Room Group

Why is student satisfaction so low for some of these top unis?

KCL, Edinburgh, Manchester, are pretty low, and LSE and Imperial not much better. What's up w that? I thought KCL was especially bad for that considering that people on student forums like to point out its student satisfaction but I was surprised that the same goes for other unis that are meant to rank highly
I'm just seeing this as well - I saw the same for UoBirmingham - its like there is a negative correlation of research quality / overall ranking and student satisfaction lmfao...

Maybe its the higher expectations for better universities? Happiness = expectation - reality so could be that lol.

It could also be that RGs tend to be more harsh with markings and try and push students a lot more to their limit? I have no idea myself really, just wanted to second this question.
Original post by gregregregreg
I'm just seeing this as well - I saw the same for UoBirmingham - its like there is a negative correlation of research quality / overall ranking and student satisfaction lmfao...

Maybe its the higher expectations for better universities? Happiness = expectation - reality so could be that lol.

It could also be that RGs tend to be more harsh with markings and try and push students a lot more to their limit? I have no idea myself really, just wanted to second this question.

With your last point, I think that's especially true. Since better ranking universities typically push you more, you feel stressed and enjoy yourself less, I guess.
Reply 3
There are many contributory factors but a big one is that students very much dislike the amount of effort they have to put in, especially when they are paying a lot of money for a course. They are also ****ed off at the prospect of failure, which many now think they ought be immune from given the costs they incur. I see it every day. If they polled my students on 'satisfaction' it'd be really quite low.
Reply 4
It doesn't seem to me that the numbers support the conclusion that a university should be expected to have lower student satisfaction numbers simply because it is more demanding or because it produces high-quality research. For example, per the most recent Guardian league tables, Imperial enjoys the 7th highest score for student satisfaction with teaching (85.2), and I don't think anyone is going to question its rigor or research bona fides. And although the student unions of Oxford and Cambridge currently do not participate in the NSS in sufficient number to be counted, it's not because the universities had poor student satisfaction numbers. To the contrary, student satisfaction for teaching in 2016--the last year Oxbridge students participated in sufficient numbers--were high, with Oxford and Cambridge both at 90 (https://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/ukgwa/20180319130445/http://www.hefce.ac.uk/lt/nss/results/2016/), which was above the average for UK universities. That said, I think it's fair to say that few universities are exceptional at both undergraduate teaching and graduate-level research, though some universities (e.g., Oxbridge) do excel in both.
(edited 9 months ago)
A lot of the london universities score poorly because the staff satisfaction levels are also low. Particularly staff with a high responsibility for undergrad teaching at research intensive universities. Expensive housing, long commutes and cramped working environments at home and at work lead to grumpy lecturers and in turn unhappy students.

Edinburgh has always done badly - as have many universities with mainly Scottish students (counterintuitively NSS performance actually improved on the whole when students started “paying” top up fees and the Scottish universities never got that boost). Again staff satisfaction is an issue - not many staff can afford to live in Edinburgh due to the horrific housing problems in the city that also affect the students.

Manchester didn’t used to be so dreadful but then Covid happened and they massively over recruited (meaning there wasn’t the teaching space for in person teaching even when restrictions were lofted) and then treated their students like crap (including fencing them into halls). The first years from 2020 responded to the NSS this year (mostly), the rest plus the 2021 first years who had chaotic teaching will be responding next year.

The research into NSS doesn’t actually show any correlation with academic rigour/entry standards (plus the universities mentioned don’t fail very many students - that’s why their first and 2.1 proportions are so high and OfS has been looking at grade inflation in universities). There’s quite a lot of evidence that staff satisfaction levels are key to improving NSS scores and that students from certain backgrounds tend to respond more favourably. These universities would likely improve their NSS scores by recruiting fewer privately educated, wealthy, white women.
(edited 9 months ago)
'students complain a lot' :tongue:

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