BOYCOTT of Student Satisfaction Survey encouraged by CUSU

The National Student Satisfaction Survey is part of the TEF – suspected to increase fees

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CUSU has issued advice to finalists who were sent the National Student Satisfaction Survey to boycott it ‘for now’. 

After it was announced in December that Cambridge was to participate in the next stage of the Teaching Excellent Framework which would see fee increases for university students in the year future, CUSU issued a statement saying it would “oppose and frustrate the implementation of TEF 2.”

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Now, with an email having been sent to finalists asking them to complete the National Satisfaction Survey (NSS), CUSU has advised finalists to hold off filling it in. The NSS is an integral part of the Teaching Excellence Framework, and positive responses from students are part of a tripartite model which will enable universities to increase fees.

The email not only asks finalists to participate in the survey but also offers them rewards for doing so, including Apple products and cash prizes. The email fails to mention any connection with the NSS and the Teaching Excellence Framework, leaving many students unaware.

This notice from CUSU comes as the email has been sent before a decision regarding the official position on the TEF has been made, which will happen at the first CUSU Council of term.

President Amatey Doku posted across various Facebook groups, saying  “our advice to finalists is to not fill out the survey until CUSU Council has decided exactly how it will continue to oppose the [Teaching Excellence Framework]”

He also said that regardless of the decision made by CUSU Council, “CUSU will produce a full briefing paper to all students so that they know exactly what filling out the survey from this year on will mean for the fees of future students.”

When asked for a quote, Amatey said

“We have clear and unambiguous mandate from CUSU Council to oppose and frustrate the implementation of TEF 2, and that does not stop with the decision made at University Council. It is likely that our efforts will be focused on the National Student Survey (NSS) but we will seek to clarify exactly how we intend to oppose TEF at the first CUSU Council of next term. In the meantime, we want to make it clear to final year students that the National Student Survey will from now on dictate whether or not the University will be able to charge higher fees for future students.” 
However, a University spokesperson told us that:“This week all UK students will be invited to take part in the National Student Survey (NSS). Student feedback, such as from the NSS, plays a key role in improving the academic experience at Cambridge, and we encourage Cambridge students to take part in the Survey. It is important that students are aware that this year’s Survey results will not inform TEF2 ratings because the first ratings will only draw on earlier NSS results from 2014, 2015 and 2016.”

It seems, in light of this move, that CUSU’s position seems to be increasingly in favour of a boycott of the NSS.