8 January 2019 • HOP, Steffi Weber
National Student Survey keeps everyone onboard
That is what Utrecht University states on theirDUB news site. Last autumn, UU and later also the UvA threatened to stop with the annual satisfaction survey among students, which would have had major consequences for prospective students. The results of the NSE are used by, among others, the Study Guides, the study guide special edition from Elsevier magazine and by Studiekeuze123, the party commissioning the survey paid by the government.
The UU and UvA have long criticised the survey questions, but they found the answers were no longer useable since the new privacy legislation resulting in students being able to refuse permission for their details to be shared. Thirty per cent of the students did that. Institutes can still find out what students think about their degree programme, but they don’t know what year they are in or their gender, for example.
It meant the students’ feedback could no longer be used to improve the education, thought the UU, who considered drawing up their own survey. Other institutions had similar complaints, says Pauline Thoolen from Studiekeuze 123. But due to new privacy legislation they couldn’t initially see any way to accommodate them.
We have since found a solution, says Thoolen. “It is a complicated technical story, but it basically comes down to institutes getting information from fewer students but the information they do get is more extensive than it was.”
The UU and UvA have agreed to this compromise for now. They do want the NSE questionnaire to be comprehensively revised under the supervision of the ministry.