More thoughts on the Guardian 2014 League Table – NSS scores and added value

The eagle-eyed will have spotted that the NSS scores that appear in the guide are different from those that we have seen before. This is not just the case for this university, but for other institutions,. the table below shows the league table’s NSS figures against the results released by Ipsos-Mori last year.



The methodology used in constructing the website is presented on the Guardian website. This ought to explain the difference above – but I haven’t yet figured it out.

In terms of how we fare against our competitors, here’s the same diagram, but sorted in terms of overall NSS satisfaction:



Maybe it’s a good thing that the Guardian records this as 85%, and not 82%!

An area to be investigated is that of value added. In the Guardian table, this relates to both entry qualifications and to the probability of gaining a good degree . The table below shows the results in order of value added (from the Guardian league table) and the percentage of good honours degrees (from the recent CUG table). Guardian data in blue.


We can clearly see that to start to rise up either of these tables, that we need to focus on methods of ensuring that more of our students gain better classifications of degrees. This might involve looking at marking criteria, looking at which modules are consistently causing difficulty, and looking at preparing students for final year study. It absolutely does not involve reviewing and compromising academic standards!




2 thoughts on “More thoughts on the Guardian 2014 League Table – NSS scores and added value

  1. If students are continually obtaining low grades in assessments (and in the context of the good degrees this amy well mean below 60%), then they need to be identified (easy to do) and offered up ancillary courses/modules that ‘teach’ them about improving study habits, preparation for assessment etc etc. So Level 4 students with poor profiles take an intensive ‘module’ at the start of Level 5 IN ADDITION TO their required curriculum. The same for Level 5 students entering Level 6. Such modules should be offered at the School level as ‘context’ is required, and at no additional cost to the student. Additional time and effort at improving skills in relation to (1) how to engage with module content, (2) how to prepare for and deliver on assignments, (3) develop their understanding of the appropriate standards required and so on needs to occur. The easiest way to deliver on this is additional modules/courses that have a contextualise focus on such skills.
    Another posible approach is to have series of blended type modules available (at Level 4 and 5) available to students on a roll on roll off basis. If feedback in regard to assessment is properly used as feedforward, then we should be able to also require ‘units of work’ within such modules to be undertaken. Students can be directed AT ANY TIME to a specific unit within a module (say on critical thinking) as this area has been identified (via feedback on previous assignments) as an area of weakness for this particulat student. A key issue here is what sort of monitoring goes on re completion of this type of activity (personal tutors?) and how do we ensure that skills developed actually work there way into forthcoming modules and assignments…

  2. Great points John. I like your idea of extra roll on/roll off blended modules.

    I could envisage a learning analytics system, in conjunction with enhanced personal tutoring that could identify when interventions or extra support is needed.

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