Student Satisfaction

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    What Matters Most!
    An Exploratory Analysis of
       Student Satisfaction

               Finian O‟Driscoll
     Shannon College of Hotel Management

           THRIC 2011, Athlone IT

                   Purpose of the Study
     It forms part of an ongoing quality assurance process which was
      initiated five years ago.

     To activate a student feedback database for the purpose of in-depth
      statistical analyses

     Theoretically explore the concept of „student satisfaction‟ in light of
      educational service delivery & standards

     Uncover salient „factors‟ re: service satisfaction

     Find out what we are doing well (and not so well)

     Fill a gap in student satisfaction research from Irish & Hospitality
      Management perspectives

    Why Focus on Quality?
    “a quality culture should permeate throughout each
    institution and underpin the range of activities provided for
    students e.g., teaching, learning, research, library, computer
    services, health and leisure facilities, etc. (HEA 2004: 19)

    Why Focus on Student Feedback?
    The need “to put in place systematic student feedback
    processes covering the quality of both the teaching and
    learning environment and other support services provided
    for students” (HEA, 2009).

           Students & Educational Services

    Educational services play a central role in students‟
    lives (Gruber, Fub, Voss and Glaser-Zikuda, 2010)

    A satisfied student population is a highly sought after
    competitive advantage for higher education institutions, lending
    itself to desirable outcomes such as positive word of mouth
    communication, retention and student loyalty..
                                          (Thomas and Galambos, 2004)

    Utility of Student Feedback
     Richardson (2005) suggests that feedback can provide
      diagnostic evidence for all stakeholders associated with the

     The collection and evaluation of student feedback contributes
      to educational quality management (Rowley, 2003).

     Student feedback serves as an internal guide for educational
      improvement and externally as a source of information to other
      stakeholders (Harvey, 2003).

     Richardson (2005) highlights the utility of taking a „holistic‟
      institutional perspective to student satisfaction in that the
      student‟s „total experience‟ is appraised.

    Student Satisfaction: A Multidimensional Construct
     The extant literature indicates that student
      satisfaction is a multidimensional construct
      influenced by a variety of contextual factors

    Selected Studies
    1. Wiers-Jenssen et al., (2002);
    2. Navarro et al., (2005);
    3. Gruber et al., (2010)
    4. Tsinidou et al., (2010)

        1. The Navarro Study: North American students
       Teaching quality,
       Administration of the programme,
       Support from teaching staff and
       College infrastructures explained most of the variance in student
       Strong correlation between the level of student satisfaction and
        loyalty/intention to stay at the college.

        2. The Wiers-Jenssen Study: Norwegian students
       Teaching,
       Physical facilities and
       Administrative staff services were strong predictors
       Emphasised „social climate‟ as an important factor for student well-
        3. The Gruber Study: German students (n=544)
       Teaching,
       School placements,
       College facilities,
       Lecturer support and
       College reputation as important explanatory factors

        4. The Tsinidou Study: Greek students (n=300)
       Curriculum structure,
       Administrative services,
       Academic staff support and
       Institutional facilities

                   Research Questions?

     What are the dimensions of student satisfaction among a
      cohort of hospitality management students?

     Which factor or factors contribute most to explaining and
      predicting student satisfaction?

     Are there differences in both the levels of and factors
      which, predict student satisfaction based on Gender and

     Anything missing from the picture?

                      Course Satisfaction Survey
      Database of Year 1 students was selected for analyses in line with
       suggestions proposed by recent reports given that “a positive first-year
       student experience is crucial to achieving the goals of higher education”
        (National Strategy for Higher Education, 2010 :56)

      Survey instrument with 26 items designed to measure satisfaction
       levels across a range of areas such as college facilities, teaching
       quality, course content, welfare support services and academic

      Purposive-convenience sampling approach (Sample n = 263)

      Questionnaire completed during lectures for immediate collection.

      All items were measured on a five point Likert scale (1 = very
       dissatisfied to 5 = very satisfied).

                  Year 1 Student Composition

     No significant differences in group Gender/Nationality composition based
     on Х2 test

     Avoids confounding analytical and inferential conclusions

          Data Pre-check for Multivariate Analyses

                                                 Source: (Hair et al., 2006)

     Present study within acceptable parameters for multivariate analysis
     Exploratory Factor Analysis: A technique that explores the structure of the
     interrelationships among a large set of observable measures and creates a set of
     highly correlated variables known as factors.

     Multiple Regression: A multivariate technique that explores the relationship
     between several independent/predictor variables and a dependent variable.
     Factor Analysis Solution


                         Academic Support

                               Welfare Support



                       How Satisfied are the Students?
               What are the relationships between factors?

     Students are generally satisfied with the services offered
     Academic Quality rated highest – Placement factor rated lowest
     Academic, Welfare & Feedback services most correlated to student satisfaction
     Personal & Academic Communication services are important to students
15   Any Differences in Satisfaction Between Groups?

                                           - No significant
                                           differences in
                                           satisfaction across
                                           factors based on gender.
                                           - Males marginally more

                                           -Significant differences
                                           across factors
                                           - Non-EU less satisfied
                                           - EU less satisfied with
                                           pre-placement factor

          Regression Analyses

      A series of Multiple Regression (MR) equations were
       generated to determine the relative explanatory power of
       the satisfaction factors on overall satisfaction

        MR x Gender (2)

        MR x Nationality (2)

         A final Hierarchical MR of satisfaction factors
         controlling for gender & nationality (1)
17   Male Students   Female Students

     EU Students     Non-EU Students

     Final Model of Satisfaction Determinants

                          What are those
                          other factors?
                              Study Findings
        Student Satisfaction = Multidimensional Construct - Six Factors extracted!
        Current study supports previous international research.

     1. Quality of Academic Support, Student/Welfare Support and adequate
        college-student communications were the most important determinants
        in this study

     2. No Gender Differences but Females place significant importance on
        welfare/personal support services over male peers. Males marginally
        more satisfied overall.

     3. Non-EU students less satisfied than EU peers. Why?

     4. EU students less satisfied with „Pre-Placement Support‟ factor than
        Non-EU group. Why?

     5. The six factors explain approx 50% of students‟ satisfaction. What of the
        other 50%??
             Conclusions & Future Research
      Efficacy of student feedback is acknowledged

      Multivariate techniques capture what mostly matters -
       but not what matters most

      Concomitant and/or Follow-up qualitative research
       required: Mixed Methods. Amend/Adjust/Expand and

      Research Design scalable to all classes within the
       institution – Longitudinal research potential

      Regular collection and analysis of student feedback
       important to attain educational service quality excellence

      Institution to reflect, act upon and communicate to