National Student Survey: OU Students Association gains an 80% positivity rating

The National Student Survey logo ('NSS' in white letters on a purple background).

The results of the 2023 National Student Survey were released last week (Thursday 10 August), and the data received from 15,648 student responses showed the OU Students Association in a very positive light.

We are very pleased to report that the OU Students Association gained a positivity measure of 80.2% on the NSS’ student union question focusing on students’ academic interests, which is well ahead of the sector average across all UK student unions (71.9%).

The National Student Survey (NSS) is an annual survey commissioned by the Office for Students (OfS) to invite feedback on the student experience. The questionnaire includes categories such as ‘academic support’, ‘learning resources’ and ‘student voice’.

As a publicly funded Higher Education Institution, The Open University takes part in this survey each year. At the OU Students Association, we closely follow NSS feedback on the student union question, which helps our efforts to improve the ways in which we listen to students and communicate with them about how we represent their interests.

The student union question has changed in 2023, with the wording shifting from “The students’ union (association or guild) effectively represents students’ academic interests” in 2022 to “How well does the students' union (association or guild) represent students' academic interests?” in 2023. Similarly, the response scale for the NSS has also changed from agreeing/disagreeing with a statement (in 2022) to selecting responses to questions ranging from ‘very well’ to ‘not at all well’ in the 2023 report. Due to these changes, particularly in how feedback is measured, we cannot offer a yearly comparison this year.

However, we are heartened by the positive response to the new student union question this year, and will continue to take the student voice forward within the OU. This year, we have also renamed our earlier Central Committee Representative roles to Student Representative for more clarity, and are aiming to engage more students by encouraging them to volunteer on academic governance committees.

The rating is also indicative of the hard work of all our student volunteers involved in academic representation at all levels. To learn more about our academic representation work, please visit our student voice page.

Lou Robinson, Vice President Engagement for the Association, said:

“We are delighted to see that the OU Students Association continues to improve its representation of the academic interests of students.

“We extend our thanks not only to our excellent community of dedicated Student Representatives but to every student who provided feedback – however big or small – through surveys, consultations and by reaching out to Student Leaders and Representatives, enabling us to better represent your voice across the wider University.”