The University of York has made several significant increases in the National Student Survey, including in the feedback and student satisfaction categories.
The university has improved in almost every category despite a current nationwide decrease in student satisfaction by 1%.
In the survey, which asks final-year undergraduates to provide feedback on their courses, student satisfaction at York has increased by 3%, whilst feedback and explanations of exam criteria have increased by 4% respectively.
Several departments at York received particularly good results: 98% of Biology students professed themselves satisfied, and the department of Educational Studies saw an 18% increase in their levels of student satisfaction. The Department of Philosophy also saw an unprecedented 30% increase in its satisfaction rating.
The overall student satisfaction rating for the University has improved, moving from 39th to 22nd most satisfying in Britain.
Despite such increases, feedback is still the least satisfying category for York. Only 59% of students are satisfied with explanations of feedback, and 63% with the promptness of feedback.
Despite such developments, there have also been several drops in student satisfaction in some departments at York. Molecular Biology, Biophysics and Biochemistry all suffered a 3% drop in satisfaction rating of 98% to 95%. Management Studies, English Literature and Social Policy also all fell in their rating by 2%.
The results come at a time when it is felt that annual increases in tuition fees justify a demand for improvements at universities across the country.
“Tuition fees in England were trebled in 2006, but students have not seen a demonstrable improvement in the quality of their experience,” commented NUS President, Wes Streeting. “Universities have a a responsibility to deliver substantial improvements in return for the huge increase in income they are receiving from fees.”
The University has also risen to its highest ever position in The Times Higher Education – QS World Rankings for 2009. York has risen 11 places in the last year, from 81st to 70th best university in the world.
York was particularly commended in the list for its quality of teaching, alongside the University of Cambridge, which featured in second place. The University’s strong departments and focus on research were also praised.
This move has put the University in a higher position than other high achieving rival institutions such as Durham.
Vice-Chancellor Professor Brian Cantor commented that “this is a superb outcome which reflects great credit on the commitment of our dedicated staff and the quality of the education that we provide.”
He added: “The University is less than 50 years old, and we have been in the -QS world top 100 for several years running.
To achieve this level of world recognition in such a short time is exceptional.”
The rise in rating for the University was largely down to a dramatic turn in fortunes for the London School of Economics, which has fallen from fourth to ninth place in the past year. The university was criticised for poor student satisfaction levels, finishing 103rd of the 250 national institutions ranked as part of the table.
The University of York has also climbed to eighth place in The Sunday Times University Guide, despite a lower overall scoring by the newspaper. York is still struggling with its rating for graduate prospects, however. In comparison to competitor university Warwick, York had 10% fewer graduates in full-time employment following graduation.