Universities accused of pressuring students on NSS

“Pressuring” students on NSS

According to the Telegraph some institutions have been trying to persuade students to give them decent scores in the NSS:

Eight British universities were reported to the higher education funding body recently over allegations that they had encouraged students to respond positively to the annual National Student Survey. Documents released under freedom of information laws showed that the institutions had tried to persuade students to give their universities high scores in the 22-question “student satisfaction survey”.

Included in the complaints were accusations by students that lecturers and heads of department had told them to give high scores when answering the questions in order to improve the value of their degree. One lecturer was even accused of telling students that they would not get a good job if they gave their university and course a low mark.

Should we be surprised? Given the significance of NSS scores in UK league tables it would be pretty extraordinary if institutions weren’t looking for ways to improve their scores. However, the fact that there seem to have been only a handful of formal complaints suggests that most universities are seeking to improve their ratings through more appropriate means. Like actually responding to what students tell them. Maybe.

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