Union Futures 1: The impact of NSS Q26

Union Futures 1: The impact of NSS Q26

NSS Q26 Report CoverNSS Q26 rates: “The students’ union (association or guild) effectively represents students’ academic interests.”

The National Student Survey (NSS) is an important barometer of student satisfaction with higher education. With the publication of an amended NSS questionnaire for 2017, and a new question (Q26) for students’ unions, in October 2016 we launched our first Union Futures project, bringing together 18 students’ unions as part of a joint research venture to inform and enable a proactive response to the new NSS question.

The resulting NSS Q26 report is available below. 

The impact of NSS Q26 – report overview:

In a little under a month we received over 17,000 responses to the survey with each participating union promoting it locally. Whilst recognising its limitations, the sample provided us with a robust statistical basis for some detailed analysis and, when coupled with rich qualitative data, it gave us a very strong dataset from which we drew a number of observations and conclusions:

  • Student representatives have the potential to make or break how the union is perceived in terms of representing academic interests.
  • Dilemma of breadth versus focus – with students interpreting Q26 in different ways some may be more satisfied with a broad offer whereas others may prefer a more focused effort to support students in their academic endeavours.
  • Communicating and marking small wins – Often, little is made about the work students’ unions undertake with individuals. However, these tend to be the very examples that best exemplify how the union represents students’ academic interests.
  • Building relationships across the institution – For academic issues, and for many personal ones, course tutors are often the first port of call for students seeking help. Building relationships with these academics is an important step for unions.

To read the full summary report, please enter your details in the form below.

About Union Futures

Union Futures is an ongoing series of collaborative projects, designed to address the key topics that Student Unions are facing. As policy priorities and performance metrics in UK higher education continue to evolve, we allow the voice of  thousands of students to be heard. We collate and assess the research findings, bring it to life with real-life examples, and then help the Student Unions to make action plans which lead to positive change.