UEA has dropped to fourth in this year’s National Student Survey (NSS) results, with an overall satisfaction score of 89.66 percent.
This shows a fall from third in 2016 after last year dropping from second in 2015’s results.
At fourth, the university is behind Loughborough (first), Liverpool Hope (second) and Lancaster (third). This year, UEA ranked above Keele, who fell to 16th after being ranked first in 2016.
The survey collected data from full time undergraduates at English mainstream universities, in their last year of study.
UEA excelled in areas such as Learning Community (tenth), Learning Opportunities (twelfth), Teaching (15th), and Academic Support (18th).
Vice-Chancellor Professor David Richardson said: “We’re delighted with this year’s scores, which mean UEA remains the only English mainstream university to achieve a top-five ranking for student satisfaction every year since the survey began in 2005.”
He continued: “We work hard to offer our students a stimulating and challenging learning environment backed with excellent support and exciting extra-curricular opportunities that help them prepare for the world of work. It’s great to receive such a positive endorsement and we believe it shows potential future students that UEA is an excellent choice.”
UEA placed in the top ten for 17 out of 36 subject groups. First was achieved for Finance, Asian studies, Academic Studies in Education, and Others in Subjects Allied to Medicine.
However, the university ranked significantly lower in other aspects of the NSS survey such as Organisation & Management (29th), Student Voice (62nd), Learning Resources (40th) and Assessment and Feedback (70th).
SU Welfare Community and Diversity Officer India Edwards said the results demonstrate that the “high overall student satisfaction rate hides big issues that the university needs to focus on”.
SU Undergraduate Education Officer Mary Leishman said: “It’s clear that UEA students rate their teaching but are baffled about the way their work is marked, and don’t believe marking is fair.”
Miss Leishman added: “We’ve been saying for years that focusing on marking turnaround times without focusing on quality or fairness would be a problem- and given that performance on this is a big part of the government’s ‘Teaching Excellence’ ratings, it’s a real concern for UEA’s reputation.”
She said “decisive and radical action by university management on assessment and feedback” was required through changes to marking scales, criteria, clarity and feedback.
SU Postgraduate Education Officer Maddie Colledge expressed concern over the Learning Resources and Organisation and Management results. She said that “without the facilities, space or people to support them dissatisfaction with these things will only grow”.
Helena Gillespie, Academic Director for Learning and Teaching Enhancement said that UEA will remain focused on improving electronic feedback, improvements to formative work and frequent school level reviews of assessment.
She said: “Once a full analysis of the data and comments is complete, schools will continue to strive for improvements. It is pleasing to see that, in the area we have been most focused on in the last few years, timeliness, we scored 74 per cent.”