Students at universities across the country claim to have been coerced into putting falsely positive responses to the National Student Survey, it has been revealed.
The matter has come to light following the release of an audio tape in which a lecturer at Kingston University is heard telling students that portraying the institution in a bad light in the survey will have negative effects on the prestige of their degrees.
The five-minute clip encourages students to confine negative comments solely to internal channels of complaint.
YUSU President, Anne-Marie Canning emphasised the significance of the survey saying: “The NSS is the most important way for students to give feedback about their university experience, so it is vital that the institutions do not try to affect the honesty of students’ responses.” Canning described the actions of other universities as “totally out of order”.
The results of the government-funded and widely respected survey which is taken by final-year students before graduation, are used in the calculation of highly influential league tables, including those by the Times and the Guardian.
Students at York are not forced to complete the survey, and Canning supports this approach: “York has a high response rate – 71% last year – which we achieved by emphasizing the benefits of completing the survey.”