Know your rights! Know the rules?

UCA starts its National Student Survey (NSS) on the 5th of February in which you will be encouraged to complete the online survey over the coming weeks. Do you know the rules and your rights when it comes to NSS? The University must abide by a set of rules and regulations regarding NSS which outline a list of ‘Inappropriate Influence’. As students taking part in this survey you need absolute freedom regarding your answers, this is why we are sharing the below information with you.

As outlined by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), ‘Inappropriate Influence’ is any activity which may encourage students to reflect anything other than their true opinion of their experiences during their course in their NSS responses.

Inappropriate influence can emerge in several ways, for example:

  • Students may not be told how to complete the survey, such as defining what any of questions mean or anything about the NSS scale. Everything must be left to students to interpret these in the way they see fit. Students can’t have recommendations given to them to respond in a certain way, e.g. ‘I recommend that you select agree or mostly agree’, or misrepresent the scale to students, i.e. defining the neither agree nor disagree’ as a negative response.
  • While arranging completion sessions is allowed, institutions should not enforce them nor make students feel there may be consequences should they not attend. Filling in NSS is completely voluntary for students.
  • The institution isn’t allowed to link in any way, NSS to league tables, job prospects or the perceived value of students’ degrees. Universities absolutely can not say marking down in NSS will make their degrees look bad to future employers.
  • The NSS scale cannot be linked to other scales with different purposes, i.e. assignment marking schemes.
  • Students should be given privacy so they can respond with honesty. Staff may not be near students when filling the survey out.

It’s important that you’re aware of these rules so you can fill in the survey as true and honest as possible! If you’ve got any feedback or comments, please do not hesitate to get in touch with Riley, your VP Kent at or, Phill, your VP Surrey at

Make sure you’ve completed the survey by the 30th of April!

Posted in: Blog on Tuesday, February 6th, 2018 by