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Survey of satisfaction survey is unsatisfactory

The lack of research on whether the National Student Survey is an appropriate measure of quality is alarming, especially as it plays such an important role in UK higher education, says Alex Buckley.

The National Student Survey, which is open until 30 April, is an influential and controversial metric in an industry largely devoted to research. As such, its validity should be thoroughly studied. A substantial literature on the survey should surely have been built up over the past decade if the UK government and national agencies, such as the Office for Students, want to deploy it as a lever for market-driven improvements in quality. 

This should also be the case if institutional leaders want to boost their NSS rankings, if harassed academics want to critique the NSS as a fundamentally flawed element of neoliberalism, and if these groups are interested in providing evidence for their entrenched views.

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