SOAS University of London

SOAS top for teaching in London: NSS 2016

10 August 2016
NSS survey picture 2015/16

Student satisfaction at SOAS in 2016 has risen across every single one of the seven areas measured by the National Student Survey - and in 22 out of the 23 NSS questions.

SOAS’s already strong teaching scores improved still further to hit 90% satisfaction, up from 89% last year and 3% points above the sector average. This means SOAS has the best teaching score in London – and stands 9th best among English universities.

88% of students at SOAS are satisfied overall – up from 87% last year, equalling the highest recorded at SOAS and 2% points above the sector average.

Teaching satisfaction (NSS 2016)

SOAS University of London 90%
Royal Holloway University of London 89%
King's College London 88%
University College London 86%
Imperial College London 86%
Queen Mary University of London 85%
LSE 80%

For teaching, Anthropology was ranked equal first with 100%, Development Studies received 92% placing it among the UK’s top ten, Politics received 94% and Religion scored 92%.

In relation to subject rankings, SOAS was ranked first for African and Modern Middle Eastern Studies, with an overall satisfaction ranking of 94%; second in Asian Studies and sixth for Anthropology with 97%.

SOAS was also ranked fourth in the UK for students rating its courses as intellectually stimulating (93%). In addition, 92% said staff were good at explaining things – the highest ratings SOAS has yet achieved and well above sector averages.

In other areas, where SOAS has been focussing attention on improving the student experience, there were even more significant improvements compared to previous years:

• the rating for assessment and feedback rose to 72% (from 65% last year)
• the rating for academic support rose to 76% (from 72%)

SOAS Pro-Director (Learning and Teaching) Dr Deborah Johnston said:

“Our teaching rating has always been consistently strong, so it is impressive to see additional improvements this year. But it is particularly heartening to see the steps we have taken to improve assessment and feedback, and academic support, bearing fruit so quickly. This shows that systematic action taken across the institution can deliver real improvements for our students.

“Measures such as receiving detailed comments (73%) and feedback clarifying issues (72%) have moved SOAS scores from the mid-sixties to be at or above sector averages. I am confident we can still improve further in these and other areas – eg on promptness of feedback, which has also improved significantly, but has further to go to reach what our students rightly expect.

“All credit to our academic staff and support staff for achieving these impressive improvements. We will continue to drive and support change. I am confident that additional facilities such as the Weston Student Hub in our major new building can only help to bring about further improvement in the student experience in the years ahead.”

SOAS’s Library also comes in for particular praise as part of overall learning resources, which rose to 88% from 84% last year. The score for the Library itself has hit 91% up from 88% last year, and 4% points above the sector average.

The NSS covers finalists at all UK institutions and was completed in spring 2016 by more than 550 final-year SOAS students – more than ever before. The 23 questions asked in the core survey cover teaching; assessment and feedback; academic support; organisation and management; learning resources; personal development; and overall satisfaction.