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Good NSE score does not necessarily mean a good Keuzegids score

Good NSE score does not necessarily mean a good Keuzegids score

Keuzegids 2020: University Colleges in the lead

MAASTRICHT. The UM is the most international university; European Law School - with almost 84 per cent foreign students - is the most international study programme. But when it comes to quality, Law School is dangling at the bottom in the Keuzegids Universiteiten 2020. The results of the National Student Survey (Nationale Studenten Enquête, NSE), however, tell a different story.

The Keuzegids 2020, published on Wednesday 27 November, assessed university bachelor's programmes in the Netherlands, as it does every year. The guide bases itself (partly) on the results of the National Student Survey and the opinion of experts (quality inspector NVAO, research institute ROA, universities umbrella organisation VSNU). The general conclusion this year is: more students, bigger universities, but also higher quality. All of this applies to Maastricht University, which saw its student numbers grow and rose one place (to fourth) on the ranking of the so-called ‘other’ universities. Uncontested leader in this category is Wageningen, while the last on the list is Erasmus University.

With six UM study programmes in the top ten of bachelor's programmes with the highest percentage of international students, and tremendous satisfaction (“top scorer”) with the lecturers' English, Maastricht is also the most international university.

Speaking of leaders, University College Maastricht and University College Venlo are head and shoulders above the other UM bachelor's programmes. Their students praise, among others, the programme, the lecturers, exams and academic development. With a score of 8.4, they are among the eighteen best-assessed university programmes in the Netherlands.

The scores for Health Sciences (7.0), International Business (7.2) and Medicine (7.4) - all three in third place in their respective categories - also stand out.

The Science Programme, the ‘third’ College at the UM, which started in 2011, takes the lead in the national group of Scientific Interdisciplinary bachelor's programmes. They obtained a 8.2 in 2020, which is a little bit lower than in 2019 (8.4), but in line with their overall high score throughout the years (7.8 in 2018).

A high place in listing sometimes says very little about the final score in the Keuzegids. European Studies, for example, shares ‘first’ place (of two), but doesn't come any higher than 5.0 and hence is at the bottom of the list of Maastricht bachelor’s programmes, along with Biomedical Sciences (5.0) and European Law School (4.8). Their students are less satisfied than their colleagues in the rest of the country about exams and feasibility of the study load. Dropout figures in first year are high too, compared to other study programmes.

Still, it seems as if something strange is going on here. Looking at the NSE results of European Law School, for example, one sees an outstanding result: 4 on a five-point scale. (In comparison: Medicine obtained 4.3, UCM 4.4). Even the NVAO experts' assessment is good. The same story applies to Biomedical Sciences and European Studies. How is it possible that these three only do moderately well in Keuzegids? A data analyst from the Keuzegids explains: “The level of Dutch education is good. The NSE asks students one hundred questions; we select thirty for the guide and compare those scores to the national average. According to our method, ELS is below the national average.” In other words: the other programmes are even better.



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