At a packed Student Assembly last week, around 250 students from across Goldsmiths voted to support the national campaign to boycott the National Student Survey (NSS) - a survey for final year undergraduate students that has come under intense criticism since its creation.
The motion democratically mandates the Students’ Union and Officer Team to:
- Not promote the NSS or have any pro-NSS material with the SU logo on.
- Launch a boycott campaign with UCU (the trade union for academic staff) that highlights the criticisms of the survey and urges students not to fill it in.
- Object to the College spending any money or using any resources to promote the NSS.
The objective of the campaign is to ensure the respondent rate is less than 50%, which would void the results, meaning the College couldn’t use them.
Now the campaign begins: a message from Taylor McGraa, Education Officer
There are lots of good reasons to not fill in the NSS. It is a flawed and arbitrary survey, which has been discredited by the Royal Statistical Society as a way to measure a university student experience. Despite only surveying third year undergraduates, the College also uses the data to make grand assumptions and important decisions for the entire institution. The survey disempowers students, treating you as passive customers who have university education ‘done’ to you, rather than being an active participant and partner in your education.
The main outcome of the survey is to use the data to put Goldsmiths into a gigantic league table, unfairly pitting us against universities that specialise in STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering, maths), rather than the arts. The survey is simply not made for institutions like ours. Continuing to support the NSS only continues to support the government agenda of marketising education, and lack of support for small and specialist institutions.
There are other big questions about how the survey is used. The University of Manchester have announced hundreds of job cuts, citing ‘HE policy changes’ and a change in student expectations as the reason. This came after declining NSS results. When most students give feedback they don’t expect their feedback to be then used as a weapon against the staff they rely on.
So let’s take a stand for the type of education we want. We all know there are a range of areas the College could do better in, but there are better ways of giving feedback, for example, through your Department Reps.
What you can do to support this campaign:
Click here to pledge to boycott the NSS.
For questions about this campaign please email firstname.lastname@example.org.