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An Unnecessary KIS? The UK’s Key Information Set, was it really needed and what was its real purpose?

Holmes, Andrew Gary Darwin


Andrew Gary Darwin Holmes


This paper provides a critical analysis of the United Kingdom’s higher education Key Information Set (KIS), which was implemented following the 2011 UK White Paper ‘Students at the Heart of the System’. It argues that one of the central tenets of the KIS – providing information that students within a free market can make an informed choice and, through this process of consumer choice improve the quality of teaching, is untenable because a central component of the KIS, the National Student Survey (NSS), is unreliable when used for comparing university courses. Further, it argues that the KIS reified a neoliberal perspective about the worth and value of higher education qualification, positioning it as a commodity of value only to the paying individual rather than being something of value to society as a whole. It will be of particular interest to academics and policy makers from outside of the United Kingdom, where governmental and regulatory agencies may be implementing similar policies.


Holmes, A. G. D. (2020). An Unnecessary KIS? The UK’s Key Information Set, was it really needed and what was its real purpose?. Shanlax International Journal of Education, 8(2), 1-9.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Feb 3, 2020
Online Publication Date Mar 1, 2020
Publication Date Mar 2, 2020
Deposit Date Jul 7, 2020
Publicly Available Date Jul 7, 2020
Journal Shanlax International Journal of Education
Print ISSN 2320-2653
Electronic ISSN 2320-2653
Publisher Shanlax International Journals
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 8
Issue 2
Pages 1-9
Public URL


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