Motion on National Student Survey

This branch notes:

• That the National Student Survey (NSS) is a key element of neoliberal proposals (such as those in the 2011 Universities White Paper) to transform higher education into a marketable commodity
• That the NSS naturalises the idea of students as ‘customers’ and staff as ‘service providers’ and further embeds a culture of ‘measuring’ and ‘ranking’ inside HE
• That institutions are increasingly using the NSS as a performance management tool with no obvious pedagogic benefits
• That, as the former head of the Higher Education Academy put it in the THES, the NSS is a ‘pseudoscientific tool purporting to be reliable on the spurious psychologistic grounds that there is some statistical congruence between the responses on a small group of agree-disagree questions around a common topic’.

This branch agrees:

• To oppose the NSS and to investigate the possibility of urging members not to comply with procedures related to the NSS
• To work with other UCU branches in developing a campaign of opposition to the NSS
• To work with student unions and student groups to call for a boycott of the NSS
• To develop meaningful forms of student feedback and evaluation.

Proposed: Des Freedman

Passed 28th March 2012