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Information on the National Student Survey and the Teaching Excellence Framework

What is the NSS?
The National Student Survey (NSS) is a UK-wide survey of final-year undergraduate students, which seeks to collect information about students’ academic experiences. The purpose of this is to help inform the choices of prospective students, contribute to public accountability and provide data that assists institutions in enhancing the student experience. Read more about the survey here

Why does the university support the NSS?
Student feedback is essential for developing and enhancing the student experience at Queen Mary. While QMUL uses the results from our internal channels such as the Queen Mary Student Survey and module evaluations to improve our services and processes at a local level, the NSS is a national survey, giving us a valuable insight into how we compare with other universities and where improvements could be made. The NSS also provides essential information for prospective students to inform their choices about where they want to study.

Why is there boycott of the NSS?
The National Union of Students and a number of institutional students’ unions, including Queen Mary Students’ Union, are boycotting the NSS this year in response to the introduction of the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF).

What is the TEF?
The Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) is a new government framework aiming to measure the teaching quality of higher education providers. The TEF assessment applies to undergraduate students only. The aims of the TEF are to:

  • Better inform students’ choices about what and where to study
  • Raise esteem for teaching
  • Recognise and reward excellent teaching
  • Better meet the needs of employers, business, industry and the professions.

Almost all universities in England are currently participating in Year Two of the TEF. More information on the TEF can be found on our TEF page

What does the NSS have to do with the TEF?
Three of the six metrics used in the TEF to assess institutions are derived from certain sections of the National Student Survey, averaged over three years from the 2014, 2015 and 2016 surveys.

More information on the other metrics that contribute to the TEF rating can be found on our TEF page

Will the TEF mean that tuition fees will rise?
Institutions achieving a gold, silver or bronze rating in TEF Year Two (awarded in 2017 and applying to fees from 2018/19) will be able to apply a tuition fee uplift for undergraduate Home and EU students that is in line with inflation. Until 2020/21, the government is expected to allow tuition fees to increase by the rate of inflation for universities participating in TEF and meeting minimum eligibility requirements. From 2020/21, this can be linked to results in the TEF, assuming that the independent review of TEF (reporting to parliament in 2019) does not suggest a change of course. Increases in tuition fees go some way towards offsetting the drop in real value (due to inflation) of fees since their introduction at £9,000 in 2012, allowing institutions to maintain and improve the experience of their students in the context of rising costs. 

QMUL has confirmed that all home and EU students who have enrolled on undergraduate degree programmes at QMUL up to and including 2016/17 will not be subject to tuition fee increases for the duration of their current studies. Students who are currently registered on pre-sessional and foundation programmes, and students who restart their undergraduate studies on a substantially new programme, will be subject to the higher fee from 2017/18.

What next for the TEF?
QMUL made its TEF Year Two submission by the deadline of 26 January 2017, alongside a total of 299 universities, colleges and alternative providers of higher education that have chosen to participate. The outcomes and accompanying information will be published in June 2017.

Find out more on our TEF page

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