Avans not to use this year’s NSS outcomes (updated)

27 March 2019

Over the last few weeks, you have been invited several times to take part in the Dutch National Student Survey (NSS). Many of you have done so, contributing to objective information that helps prospective students pick the right study programme. By giving valuable feedback, you have also helped boost the quality of your study programme.

Unfortunately, a number of problems have arisen during this year’s edition of the Dutch National Student Survey (NSS). As a consequence, there are doubts about the reliability of the NSS outcomes. Much has gone wrong with the invitations to take part in the survey. Also the screens froze quite a few times when the survey was underway. You might also have been unable to find your study programme among the pull-down menu items listed with the question on which study programme you are enrolled. These menu items unfortunately also included incorrect or obsolete study programme names that naturally were not recognised by you. Understandably this has led a substantial number of students to select an incorrect study programme name. The answers provided by these students are obviously not relevant for the study programmes accidentally selected. Similar problems occurred with the question on the university of applied sciences you are studying on. As a consequence, we are unable to make certain that students correctly selected their study programme and university of applied sciences. This makes the outcomes unreliable.

These problems have never occurred in previous editions of this survey. Previously, details about your study programme and mode of study (full-time / part-time) were submitted by the university of applied sciences to Studiekeuze123, the foundation responsible for organising the NSS. New privacy legislation (GDPR) has now barred universities of applied sciences from providing these details about individual students to Studiekeuze123. That’s why we asked you this year to fill in these details in the survey yourself. The subsequent errors made when compiling the list of study programme names for this particular question has now resulted in serious doubts about the reliability of the NSS outcomes.

Avans attaches great importance to offering reliable information that helps prospective students pick the right study programme and this reliability must be beyond doubt. That’s why we regrettably had to decide not to use this year’s NSS outcomes. We understand fully you might be disappointed after spending time and energy on filling in the survey carefully. However, we explicitly want to prevent incorrect information about your study programme from being distributed.

We are working hard behind the scenes to find a way to eliminate these problems for next year’s edition. Until that time, we will continue to both assess the quality of our teaching and your satisfaction with it using our regular quality assessment instruments (such as our survey on education in 2025, evaluation forms and in-depth interviews) and use the outcomes to make improvements.

Finally, we would like to thank you for your efforts with respect to the NSS, and we hope you understand our motivation. We hope we can count on you to share your views about your study programme in any future surveys. After all, the quality of education is a shared responsibility for which we need your help.

Last updated on 27 March 2019.