This year the Students’ Union will not be boycotting the National Student Survey (NSS), the NSS captures the views of final year undergraduate students in relation to their academic experience from assessment and feedback, teaching quality to the student voice and more. In recent years there have been several boycotts of the NSS due to previous links to fees and bias. Although the NSS is no longer linked to fees and has a big impact on shaping the priorities of the University in regards to Teaching and Learning and the priorities for myself as Education Officer. I encourage students to think rationally about filling in the NSS, for those that do want to fill in the NSS please make sure to touch on the key issues across your whole student experience
Now my work isn’t done here just yet, I need your help in calling for the Office for Students (OfS) to review the NSS. Across Higher Education, there are little to no metrics that measure the student experience in relation to Mental Health, Safety, Representation etc that are mandatory by OfS for Universities to take part in. Until we reach a point where the whole student experience is measured and action is taken we will continue to see the increasing trends in attainment, degree outcomes and overall student satisfaction
In a previous analysis of the results of the NSS in 2016, the Times Higher Education found ethnicity was one of the main influences of student satisfaction, this revealed that students who were taught by black or ethnic minority academics were less likely to rate their courses positively.
The Students’ Union has a previous history of boycotting the NSS, in 2016/17 the Education Officer ran a Don’t Fill It In Campaign, the campaign was successful and less than 50% of final year undergraduate students filled out the survey making the results unusable.
In 2018/19 the Education Officer did not boycott the NSS due to the risk of harming the student voice, without the NSS reaching the required response rate to publicise the results Universities are unable to create tangible actions for the student experience without this valuable data.
For the NSS to be a true reflection of the student experience, I have listed some of the key issues that need to be addressed for students in Higher Education. I am calling for the OfS to review the current NSS themes and questions and to include:
I will be drafting a detailed response to OfS highlighting our recommendations, if there is anything you want to add to this please email me at Edofficer.firstname.lastname@example.org