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National Student Survey: Leiden University students are satisfied with their study programme

The first results of the National Student Survey (Nationale Studenten Enquête: NSE) reveal that students at Leiden University are satisfied with their study programme. The survey also shows that the expertise of teachers is highly rated.

The NSE was coducted in the first quarter of 2023. At Leiden University, the questionnaire was completed by 12,768 students (38%). The response rate was slightly higher than last year, when the NSE was completed by 36% of our students. Once again, as in the past two years, our response rate was higher than the national average for universities (wetenschappelijk onderwijs: WO): the survey was completed by 30% of all university students in the Netherlands.

Students could indicate their satisfaction level by rating several aspects of their study programme, curriculum and institution on a scale from 1 to 5, ranging from ‘very dissatisfied’/‘disagree very much’ to ‘very satisfied’/‘agree very much’.

High score for feeling ‘safe to be myself at the institution’

On average, Leiden University students gave the rating of 3.88 for their study programme in general. This is almost the same as the 3.85 in 2022. Satisfaction with the atmosphere in the study programme is also about the same: 4.03 compared with 4.01 last year.

As in 2022, just over 8 out of 10 students indicated that they (very much) agree with the statement ‘I feel safe to be myself at the institution where I’m studying’ in 2023. Their opinion on this aspect of perceived inclusion within Leiden University is therefore comparable to that of all university students in the Netherlands.

Rating of teachers has fallen slightly but is still high

With an average score of 3.86, Leiden University students’ opinion of their teachers in 2023 is slightly less positive than in 2022, when the average was 3.92. This trend is evident for nearly all of the rated aspects of teachers. However, despite this small decrease in rating, the extent to which ‘teachers are content experts’ received an average score of 4.31, making it the most highly rated item of the survey for Leiden University in 2023. Compared with all university students in the Netherlands, Leiden University students are on average more positive about their teachers on most of the items. The rating of teachers is also important with respect to the role they can fulfil in terms of professional practice: the link to it and information about it, and acquiring skills that are relevant for it.

Preparation for the labour market still needs attention

The average scores given by Leiden University students in the area of labour market preparation this year ranged from 3.15 to 3.62, which is lower than the average rating of university students in the Netherlands. The average satisfaction for ‘connection with professional practice’ fell to 3.62 in 2023, following an increase to 3.74 in 2022. By contrast, the rating of ‘preparation for a professional career’ stayed about the same as last year, with an average score of 3.31. The rating of ‘link to professional practice’ and ‘acquiring skills for professional practice’ also stayed more or less stable compared with 2022, with average scores of 3.15 and 3.31 respectively.

These results appear to indicate that students have been aware of activities focused on labour market preparation in recent years. At the same time, however, the results also highlight the importance of constant efforts to improve the visibility and familiarity of preparation for employment. The University is continuing to work on this area, for example in the context of the Skills and Employability enhancement ambitions of the vision on teaching and learning.

Follow-up of results per faculty and per study programme

The next step will be for the NSE results to be further broken down and sent to the faculties and study programmes. Programme committees have an important role in evaluating the results at the study programme level and, where relevant, making recommendations. The outcomes will then be analysed by faculty quality assurance advisers and prepared for the study programmes. The results will be available in the near future via the Education Dashboard. Your faculty and study programme will soon be informing you about what improvement points (and other points) have emerged from the NSE in relation to your study programme, and what actions will be taken in response to these.

More information?

You can view all the Leiden University scores on the NSE’s main themes and the national university average in the factsheet accompanying this report (on the right), or discover how your study programme was rated via the NSE Dashboard.

The National Student Survey is not the only instrument for improving our education. Leiden University also uses course and programme evaluations and, naturally, observations made by student and staff participation bodies. All these tools are employed to find out what is going well within our education and which areas may benefit from more attention.

Foto: Anna Loh

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