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Student Feedback resources

Helping you to make the most from student feedback

Table of Contents

Student Feedback

In the UK, the National Student Survey (NSS) is used to give students a voice; it provides them with the opportunity to give feedback on their higher education experience. The promise is that it will enable them to “help shape the future for (their) fellow students, and help those considering higher education decide where and what to study”. In 2016, more than 70% of final-year students in the UK completed the NSS across 357 eligible institutions.

The NSS provides valuable feedback and insight, but there is a problem. It’s an annual, reflective survey – that is, it provides a snapshot in time, after the event. It may benefit “future students” but what about the students who are providing the feedback? The opportunity to provide input has come too late for them. So, is the NSS fit for purpose?

Yes, it is – as part of a feedback “toolbox”. We’re not advocating junking the NSS, or other comparable national surveys conducted in other countries, but we are advocating a blended approach where the national survey is a tool in the toolbox rather than the toolbox itself.



A Different Approach to Student Satisfaction

A lengthy, annual survey that asks students to reflect on their experience in higher education isn’t the only way to collect feedback. It isn’t even the best way.

If you want to identify what’s working and what’s not in real-time, the NSS is of limited value. In this situation, a real-time feedback solution is needed.

Consider Warwick University (the UK’s Sunday Times University of the Year 2015) as an example. Warwick use touchscreen kiosks to collect feedback in real-time, 24/7, all year long.  These surveys provide Warwick with a continuous flow of intelligence, helping the University to regularly refine and improve its offering and maintain its position in the UK’s University league tables.



Which brings us back to the second objective of the NSS – to “help those considering higher education decide where and what to study”. Mark Potter, the University of Warwick’s Head of Service Delivery, commented, “We want to understand the entire student journey, and immediate feedback is key. Accurate and swift gathering of feedback in our cafes, bars, restaurants and shops is embedded in our continuous improvement programme, giving us a wealth of data which we are using to drive ongoing improvements”. The University of Warwick maintains a constant focus on the student experience, capturing feedback that is immediate and timely. This enables them to address issues as they arise rather than months later as is the case with annual, reflective surveys. Given the proven links between student satisfaction, recruitment and financial performance, the ability to identify and resolve sources of student dissatisfaction when they occur is a service differentiator.

The same approach can also be applied to courses. Tutors can use feedback to gauge understanding, modify their approach (if required) and to adjust the flow of the class – all with the goal of maximising learning and academic performance.

Student leaving quick feedback at a catering venue


Measure student experience to improve outcomes


Smart student feedback solutions provide essential insights to guide decision making at HE establishments in order to better support students and improve learner participation.

“Appealing to Students because they can answer them quickly.”
University of Warwick

Always-on’ real-time feedback solutions provide you with a constant flow of actionable insight. Informing you about how your students feel about the services you offer and what and where improvements are required.

The flexible solution enables you to monitor and benchmark services across facilities on campus, whilst also being able to tailor questions to focus on specific aspects of the different services:

“As responses are collected and analysed in real time,
service managers are far better placed to react
to feedback quickly.”
University of Exeter

Read more about our work at University of Exeter

Free up administration resource
No more data inputting! Your feedback is automatically uploaded and hosted in a central location so it can be accessed as required. A simple click and you are able to share reports or alternatively download the raw data for additional analysis. 

Two-way messaging
Communicate changes through "you said we did" messages or signpost students to relevant resources, dependent on the answers they give.

Interactive dashboard
Access feedback results on demand with graphical representations of the data collected.

Live alerts
If students report service drops that fall below set parameters then alerts are triggered giving you the opportunity to intervene quickly. 

ViewPoint Live alerts

Real-Time Benefits

We’ve seen that real-time feedback solutions give the ability to identify and resolve sources of student dissatisfaction when they occur. But they also offer other advantages in comparison to the traditional, reflective feedback approach:

  1. Greater accuracy. Gartner research has shown that feedback gathered in real-time is up to 40% more accurate when compared with feedback captured as little as 24 hours after the event to which it relates. Accuracy and reliability of feedback is, of course, a critical consideration if you’re going to use the data to make decisions that will affect the service you provide to students.
  2. Higher response rates. You can expect to capture up to 12% more responses using real-time solutions as opposed to reflective ones.
  3. Simplification. You can simplify long questions through the use of icons and images with touch screen kiosks.
  4. Intelligence. Intelligent routing can be used to ensure that the next question asked takes account of the answer just given, thus avoiding frustrating the respondent who may otherwise decide to abandon the survey.
  5. Meta-data. Meta-data such as location and time can automatically be recorded when using smart devices to capture real-time feedback.
  6. Real-time responsiveness. Real-time solutions typically come with real-time reporting dashboards and live alerts which means you can monitor trends and respond to issues with next to no lag.
  7. Always-on. Kiosks can be left on 24/7 capturing responses at unsociable hours and when no staff are present.


In Summary

Wrapping it all up, you can use real-time feedback solutions to supplement national surveys like NSS. And you can also:

  • Find out what really matters to your students
  • Increase student response rates
  • Respond to issues in real-time to remove sources of dissatisfaction
  • Show your students that you’re listening and acting on what you hear (“you said, we did”)
  • Measure KPI performance
  • Measure and improve your NPS (Net Promoter Scores) performance. The University of Warwick increased theirs by 15 points after they introduced our real-time feedback kiosks
  • Improve your NSS performance and league table ranking.

Get more Feedback.

Get in touch to discuss more about collecting feedback from your customers.

“ViewPoint’s feedback solutions have been invaluable…(they) have given us a simple yet powerful set of consolidated, near real-time customer data to enhance the overall experience and help us make real improvements to our service offering.”

John Carter
Service Delivery Manager, University of Warwick

“As responses are collected and analysed in real time, service managers are far better placed to react to feedback quickly."


Michael Marshall
Quality Co-ordinator, University of Exeter