National Student Survey 2019: Results for Business & Management studies

The results from the 2019 National Student Survey were released to the general public on 3 July 2019. The survey is formed of 27 questions where students are asked to rate their institution on a number of themes including teaching, learning opportunities, assessment and feedback, academic support and learning resources. The latest survey was completed by over 300,000 full-time first degree graduates.

For this year’s NSS a total of 162 institutions provided returns for the subject area of Business & Management, an increase from 154 in 2018. This year’s results for institutions offering Business & Management degrees show some improvement across a range of questions, including in the areas of student feedback and course management.

The Chartered ABS has incorporated the NSS results for Business & Management into a single spreadsheet which can be filtered by institution and question. The new version of the spreadsheet contains drop-down menus for each question enabling users to easily view the average scores by provider mission group and region. There is also a table which compares the results for Business & Management with the average score across all subject areas.

A similar spreadsheet showing the results from students on Law courses will follow in due course.

Key findings

The key findings from the 2018/19 NSS for full-time first degree students on Business & Management courses are described below.

Overall satisfaction levels for Business & Management students are unchanged:

  • The proportion of students agreeing that they are satisfied with the quality of their course (81%) is unchanged from the survey for 2017/18, and remains marginally below the average level of satisfaction across all subject areas (83%) which is also unchanged.

The bulk of Business & Management students are satisfied with the teaching on their course. There have been some improvements in this year’s results but satisfaction levels remain below the average for all subjects:

  • For the questions related to ‘The teaching on the course’, the overall score of 80% for Business & Management is 5% lower than the average for all subjects. Business & Management students continue to express lower levels of agreement with the statements that staff have made the subject interesting and that the course is intellectually stimulating.
  • As with last year it remains the case that Business & Management students are also less likely than students in other subject areas to agree that their course has challenged them to achieve their best work, despite a marginal improvement for this score since 2017/18.
  • A very high proportion of students perceive that Business & Management teachers are good at explaining things, with the proportion of respondents agreeing with this statement increasing from 87% to 88% in the last year and is now only 1% below the average score for all fields.
  • Within the theme of ‘Learning opportunities’ 85% of Business & Management students felt that their course had provided opportunities to bring together information and ideas from different topics, an increase of 1% from 2017/18.
  • A marginal improvement is also observed for the proportion of Business & Management students expressing agreement with the statement that their course has provided opportunities to explore ideas or concepts in depth (81%), but this is still below the HEI sector average of 84%.

The results for assessment and feedback and academic support show some improvement in the levels of satisfaction amongst students on Business & Management courses:

  • The average level of satisfaction for the questions related to assessment and feedback on Business & Management courses has increased from 71% last year to 72% and is only 1% below the average for the whole sector.
  • These improvements are driven by marginally higher levels of agreement for several statements, including those related to the clarity and fairness of marking. The biggest improvement is for the question on receiving helpful comments on their work, with the proportion of students expressing agreement increasing from 69% to 71%, but this is still below the average for all subjects of 75%.
  • In the area of academic support, the proportion of Business & Management students agreeing that good advice was available when they needed to make study choices increased for the second consecutive year, with 73% expressing agreement.

Business & Management courses receive good scores for organisation and management compared to the average for all fields:

  • The percentage of Business & Management students agreeing that their course is well organised and running smoothly increased to 72% from 71% in 2017/18 and is now three percent higher than the average for all subjects.
  • There was also a 2% increase in the proportion agreeing that changes in their course or teaching have been communicated effectively. Business & Management students’ average levels of agreement for all questions within the ‘Organisation & Management’ theme have increased to 76%, marginally above the 75% for respondents from all subjects.
  • Business & Management shows an uptrend in the perception of the value of its library resources, with the proportion of respondents agreeing that the resources had supported their learning well increasing by 1% in each of the last two years and now stands at 86%.

The vast majority of Business & Management students feel they had the right opportunities for collaboration with fellow students and to give course feedback but it is not clear how the feedback has been used:

  • Under the ‘Learning Community’ theme, 87% of students on Business & Management courses agreed that they had received the right opportunities to work with other students as part of their course, which is 2% higher than the average for students on all subjects. The percentage of Business & Management students expressing agreement with this statement has increased by 2% since 2017.
  • The proportion of students reporting that they had been given the right opportunities to provide feedback on their course increased from 82% to 83% but this is below the sector average of 85%.
  • The level of agreement with the question related to the clarity on how feedback has been acted on is one of the lowest for any of the NSS questions. Only 61% of Business & Management students expressed agreement, which is identical to the average across all subjects. However, the proportion of Business & Management students agreeing with this statement has increased by 1% in each of the last two years.

Discussion

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