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Kingston Thrown Out of League Tables

Jul 25 2008 18:29
Ashley Brown
The psychology department at Kingston University is to be thrown out of this year's university satisfaction league tables, after Live! exposed their cheating.
The 'survey scandal' was widely reported

The Higher Education Funding Council for England has removed Kingston University's psychology department from this year's student satisfaction survey, after Live! publicised a recording of the department coercing its students to lie. On the recording, Fiona Barlow-Brown could be heard encouraging students to give higher rankings when filling in the final-year National Student Survey in an effort to boost the university's rankings. Otherwise, she said, employers would think their degree was 'shit'.

Kingston University has taken this situation very seriously and co-operated fully with HEFCE as it has looked into the matter. The University plans to introduce an agreed script in the run-up to the next National Student Survey which will be widely circulated to students and staff to avoid any repeat of this incident.
Kingston University statement

A statement by Kingston, reported by the BBC said that it accepted the decision and "has been aware that this was the most likely outcome since this isolated incident first came to light".

Live! picked up the story from a Kingston protest site, before notifying a number of national news organisations, of which only the BBC reacted at first. Following the BBCs coverage the issue of cheating on the National Student Survey made national news, also getting mentioned in the Houses of Parliament. At the time, the BBC was flooded by emails from students at other universities, highlighting that similar coercion was occuring at their institutions.

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Discussion about “Kingston Thrown Out of League Tables”

The comments below are unmoderated submissions by Live! readers. The Editor accepts no liability for their content, nor for any offence caused by them. Any complaints should be directed to the Editor.
1. ..   
Jul 25 2008 23:31
 

I see live is causing mischief again

2. n/a   
Jul 26 2008 18:03
 

That headline is perhaps a bit strong.

Then again

"One Kingston Department not listed in one Student Satisfaction Results Table" is probably less catchy.

Aug 15 2008 02:20
 

Your headline is catchy but not unreasonably sensationalist. Indeed, HEFCE did throw Kingston's Psychology Department out of this year's League Tables. Who is ultimately responsible for this? Where does the buck stop? Why is no one holding the University's chief officials responsible for this sorry state of affairs?

Aug 15 2008 09:24
 

Who is ultimately responsible for this?

The government that has created such a broken market in higher education and newspapers which rank universities on the basis of student satisfaction, rather than an independent assessment of teaching quality and job prospects.

Why is no one holding the University's chief officials responsible for this sorry state of affairs?

Who would do it? The government won't do it, because they'd have to admit that their system is broken (the emails to the BBC have shown that it is a widespread problem amongst the poorer universities). HEFCE have tried by throwing Kingston's psych department out, in an attempt to make an example of them. They should have thrown the whole university out and cut their funding - *that* would've made an example of them.

The national media did a reasonable job of damaging Kingston's reputation.

Ultimately, Kingston students should be demanding answers - and also questioning if they get the quality of education that the officials claim they get. KUSU finally seem to have made a comment on it, but it's a bit weak: http://www.kusu.co.uk/news/index.php?page=article&news_id=11265. I have no idea how effective Kingston's student media is, but the fact that there's a Kingston protest site and no student media-led campaign suggests they could do with getting the claws out and really tearing into the university administration. Unless Kingston, like many universities, keeps its student union and media under tight control.

Oct 27 2008 08:46
 

I SO agree with you, Ashley. You've hit the nail on the head on all counts. And especially respecting HEFCE's response.

Fear not, there's plenty more on the docket for Kingston to be held accountable. Stay tuned.....

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