24 Aug 2006

The Open University retains number one ranking for student satisfaction

Students at The Open University remain more satisfied with the quality of their higher education than those at any other university, according to the results of the National Student Survey 2006.

The survey shows that the University has retained its top-ranking “overall satisfaction” score, which puts it at the top of two national league tables published today (Thursday, August 24).

Participating students gave the OU an average overall satisfaction score of 4.5 out of a possible five points – a result unmatched by any other higher education provider among the 129 institutions for which survey results have been published.

Both the BBC and The Guardian put the University at the top of their league tables. The Guardian’s figures combine the overall satisfaction scores for 2006 and 2005, while the BBC’s website table is base on the percentage of students who report that they were “satisfied or mostly satisfied” with their university experience; the figure for The Open University is 95 per cent.

Will Swann – Director, Students for the University – said the survey results reconfirmed the excellence of the University’s teaching and personal support it gives to its students.

“Once again, Open University students have shown very high levels of satisfaction with their OU experience, and we are delighted that the University’s overall satisfaction score of 4.5 – a top-ranking achievement in 2005 – has been maintained this year,” he said.
“Among the six areas of student experience included in the survey, the University also achieved the highest overall score for assessment and feedback and among the top six highest overall scores in three other categories – academic support; teaching; and organisation and management.

“In rating the University so highly, our students recognise the commitment and effort made by the OU in ensuring that our course materials and student support are of the highest quality. The achievement of this level of overall satisfaction among the largest student population of any UK university exemplifies the success of the University’s distinctive methods in delivering high-calibre programmes and support.

“In reviewing the survey results, it is important to note that the average age of OU students is 32 and so they tend to be experienced and demanding consumers.”

Of the 16 detailed subject areas for which OU results have been published, the University is ranked first for overall satisfaction in ten. The National Student Survey results are published on the Teaching Quality Information website – at – which brings together key sources of official information about UK higher education.

Editor’s Notes
A total of 8,802 Open University students were invited to take part in the National Student Survey; 4,871 students (55.34 per cent) responded.
The satisfaction level was based on responses from more than 157,000 students – 56 per cent of the 279,000 eligible students at 145 higher education institutions in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Survey results have been issued by the Higher Education Funding Council for England; the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales; the Department for Employment and Learning Northern Ireland; and National Union of Students.

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