Students give top marks for teaching to Scotland's universities
SCOTLAND'S students are more satisfied with their university experience than those in the rest of the UK, a new poll has revealed.
A total of 86 per cent of students at Scotland's universities and higher education colleges said they were happy with the overall quality of the course they are taking - topped by the University of St Andrews, where 93 per cent of students rated their experience as positive.
St Andrews was ranked in the top ten of the whole of the UK, beaten by only a handful of British institutions including Cambridge University and Brighton and Sussex Medical School.
The National Student Survey (NSS), compiled by market research agency Ipsos MORI, ranked Glasgow University as the second highest-scoring institution of the 14 organisations in Scotland to take part in the poll, while just two Scots universities - Queen Margaret University in Edinburgh and Glasgow College of Art - scored below 80 per cent, at 78 and 73 respectively.
"Scottish universities have again performed strongly in this important barometer of the quality of our learning and teaching, at a time of greatly increased competition from English institutions," said St Andrews vice principal Stephen Magee.
"This is a welcome and continuing vote of confidence in the standing of Scottish higher education and the excellence of our teaching staff."
Professor Anton Muscatelli, principal and vice chancellor of the University of Glasgow, added: "It is particularly pleasing that our students continue to rate the quality and satisfaction of their experiences so highly. Year-on-year we continue to be at the top of the National Student Survey outcomes in both Scotland and the rest of the United Kingdom."
The majority of Scots universities also performed above the "benchmark" figure they were given by NSS, which takes into account the mix of students and subjects at the institution.
But students' satisfaction with the feedback they receive remained low, despite a slight increase from last year. Only 54 per cent of students in Scotland felt their feedback had been prompt, while just 58 per cent said they felt they received enough detailed comments on their work.
In addition to being questioned on their levels of overall satisfaction about their course, students were asked to respond to questions that covered topics such as teaching, personal development, assessment and feedback, learning resources and the management of their university.
Graeme Kirkpatrick, depute president of NUS Scotland, said: "It's excellent news that for students in Scotland the overall satisfaction rate with their university remains high, but there is a lot of room for improvement.
"Students, who are already working long hours in part-time jobs and having to take on lots of commercial debt, expect to receive quality assessment in the limited time they have available to study. There are really important areas where universities need to improve, and to do so they must put as much effort into teaching quality as to securing research funding."About 65 per cent of students responded to the survey - around 265,000 final-year students from across the UK.
Professor Janet Beer, chairwoman of the NSS steering group, said: "The steady upward trend in satisfaction is testament to the dedication in the sector to the improvement of the student experience."
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