No feedback loop, no way to improve (2 of 3)

March 15, 2012

Many of my most satisfying experiences have also been the most challenging: I bet the same is true for Frank Furedi. So why does he argue that a focus on the student experience "inexorably" leads to risk-averse approaches?

Assuming that students cannot distinguish between the "satisfaction" of passive consumerism and the satisfaction of challenging and life-changing study is patronising. My experience is the opposite: students often want more authentic and demanding courses than they are currently offered.

The NSS is flawed and distorting, but it has also shone a useful light on dark corners. Consider the burst of interest in feedback, stimulated by consistently poor NSS scores, which has led to a broad academic consensus that it should be reconceptualised in more engaging, more dialogical and more - not less - challenging ways.

Arguing against the NSS does not and should not mean arguing against a respectful dialogue with our students.

Mark Huxham, Professor of environmental biology, School of Life, Sport and Social Sciences, Edinburgh Napier University

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