National Student Survey 2023: Results for LawMon 4th Sep 2023
The Chartered ABS presents our analysis of the results of the 2023 National Student Survey (NSS) for the Law subject area, completed this year in partnership with the Committee of Heads of University Law Schools. In total, 117 Higher Education providers submitted NSS returns for Law in 2023, an increase from 113 in 2022. Just over 15,000 NSS responses were received for Law with a response rate of 67.2%. This is lower than the 72.6% average response rate recorded across all NSS subject areas.
The Chartered ABS has created a spreadsheet showing the institutions with NSS returns for Law and their results for each question. The spreadsheet displays results for final year, first-degree, full-time students, taught (rather than registered) at each institution. The spreadsheet can also be filtered by mission group or provider region. It is important to note that the full-time mode of study excludes students on apprenticeships courses.
To reflect the new data available under the revamped NSS, the cells in the spreadsheet are shaded by provider performance according to their percentage point difference from the benchmark as calculated by the Office for Students (OfS). Benchmark calculations are different for each provider for each question and are calculated based on various characteristics of courses and students at the provider. More information on how the OfS calculated the benchmarks can be found here.
Changes to the 2023 NSS
The 2023 edition of the NSS underwent significant changes following a consultation with the HE community. The changes include, among other things, the removal of the question on overall satisfaction for HEIs in England, a new approach to benchmarking calculations, and a rephrasing of questions to facilitate the introduction of a positivity measure to replace the previously used agreement rate. Details of the consultation and resulting changes can be found here.
The revised questionnaire comprises 25 questions across 7 themes, with an additional question on the communication of mental wellbeing support service provision at the institution, a question on perceived freedom of expression (England only), and a question on overall satisfaction (Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales only). The themes are largely unchanged from previous years, with the only difference being the omission in the new edition of the ‘learning community’ theme.
Overall, the average positivity measures for Law are lower than the average for all subjects
For four of the seven themes that comprise the new NSS, the average positivity measures for Law were below the all-subject benchmark. The results for the themes of ‘Assessment and Feedback’ and ‘Student Voice’ are most significantly below the all-subject average, trailing by 3.6% and 3.9%, respectively. The results for Law are 1.5% below the benchmark for the themes of ‘Learning Opportunities’ and ‘Academic Support’. For the themes of ‘Teaching on the course’ and ‘Learning resources’ the results for Law are 0.7% and 1.4%, respectively, ahead of the average for all subjects. For ‘Organisation and Management’ the score for Law is 2% ahead of the all-subject average.
The Law subject area is behind the all-subject average for all questions within the assessment and feedback theme
The results for Law lag behind the average across all subjects for all five questions within this theme. The question with the lowest positivity score compared to the average for all subjects is Q14 ‘How often does feedback help you to improve your work?’, with 66.4% for Law respondents compared to 71.5% for respondents from all subjects. For Q10, ‘How clear were the marking criteria used to assess your work?’, the positivity score for Law students was 70.9% compared to 75.3% for students from all subjects. Law students were more likely to perceive the marking on their course to be unfair. For Q11 ‘How fair has the marking and assessment been on your course?’, the positivity score for Law students was 75.8% versus 79.7% for the average response from students on all subjects.
Law students are significantly more likely to report lower positive scores for all aspects related to the Student Voice
The positivity scores for Law are also below the overall subject average for all questions within the Student Voice theme. For Q24 ‘How clear is it that students' feedback on the course is acted on?’, 56.6% of Law students responded positively compared to 61.1% for the all-subject average. The second worst performing question for Law for this theme was Q23 ‘To what extent are students' opinions about the course valued by staff?’, in which the positivity measure was 70.7% for Law compared to 74.5% for students from all subjects. Law students were also less likely to report that they were given the right opportunities to give feedback on their course, with 77.2% of students responding positively relative to 80.6% for students across all subjects.
In partnership with the Committee of Heads of University Law Schools: