At the beginning of this year, almost all students in the Dutch higher education system were invited to participate in the annual National Student Survey (NSE). Around 9,400 students from Utrecht University completed this student satisfaction survey. Unfortunately, due to difficulties encountered when conducting the survey, the results will not be available before the summer.
As a result of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), respondents entered the degree programme details themselves for the first time this year. In previous years, these details were entered in advance by the educational institution. However, technical problems arose during the survey which meant that linking the respondents' answers to the correct degree programme afterwards was not possible.
Statistics Netherlands (CBS) examined the reliability of the data and concluded that the results are not yet suitable for publication. One way in which the data could be rectified is by supplying details about the education background after all. Five types of details are required: degree programme followed (CROHO code), type of degree programme followed (full-time, part-time, dual), type of student (regular, pre-Master's, post-Master’s), distance learning (yes or no) and place (location of the institution). This information from the respondents can be used to check whether their completed questionnaire has been linked to the correct degree programme.
Rectification and publication
The participating universities have decided to provide the necessary data because of the importance that they attach to degree programme information and quality assurance, while also ensuring that the 9,400 surveys completed by UU students will not be lost. This decision was made carefully in order to safeguard the privacy of students. After these rectification measures, CBS will check once again to see whether the NSE data can be interpreted reliably. Depending on the results of this assessment, new agreements will be reached on the publication of the NSE results. As soon as we have any news, we will let you know.
Future of the NSE
In the meantime, research universities and universities of applied sciences are discussing how to shape a sustainable future for the NSE. Also see the press release of the Association of Universities in the Netherlands (VSNU).