MEASURING QUALITY IN HIGHER EDUCATION FROM THREE DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVES
University J.J.Strossmayer, Faculty of Law (CROATIA)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2012 Proceedings
Publication year: 2012
Conference name: 6th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 5-7 March, 2012
Location: Valencia, Spain
Abstract:The Republic of Croatia, as an EU candidate, has to carefully monitor all the processes that take place in higher education within the EU. We can certainly say that the current state of our higher education is far from satisfying, while at the same time a lot of effort is invested in order to improve the situation. The responsibility and initiative for improving the education quality lies primarily on the institutions of higher education. It is not necessary, and in many cases not possible, to copy models and instruments for monitoring and evaluating the quality that have already been used in other places and environments. It is necessary to build a new model that is adapted to the specific conditions of the achieved development by using the general methodological frame for quality and quantity research and evaluation.
The general goal of the research is to develop a measuring instrument in order to manage the quality in higher education based on the measuring of quality perception of higher education at the University of Josip Juraj Strossmayer in Osijek which is in concordance with specific conditions of higher education in the Republic of Croatia.
The research is conducted on three samples: present students (n=1494), former (graduated) students with 5 years of working experience (n=121) and the teaching staff employed at the University in Osijek (n=114). The factor structure of the KVALIMETAR measuring instrument was tested on all three samples (present students, former students and teaching staff). Although the factor structures between the three samples were somewhat different, which is common with instruments that measure multi dimensional constructs like quality perception of higher education, all factor analyses resulted in factor solutions that are relevant, interpretable and reliable. The aim of the second phase of research was to check how the quality in higher education measured in the frame of KVALIMETAR measuring instrument is perceived by students according to the selected demographic variables (years of study, class attendance, overall success). The results have shown that students of the lower school years systematically give higher quality grades in all aspects. It is a fact that the needs of students of the lower school years are far simpler because most of their demands are already fulfilled by faculty procedures while students of higher school years become more demanding when it comes to quality and are able to have a better overview of the situation at the faculty at which they study. Students who attend classes more often show a significantly higher satisfaction with all the observed aspects of higher education quality. It is also noticeable that the higher the grades are the student gets, the better his grading of higher student education is compared to those with lower grades. Students who have high education quality expectations set their own success standards high. This makes high expectations in relation to education quality proportional to their study results. The expected scientific contribution is apparent in the development of a measuring instrument for quality control at the university in Osijek which is used for measuring the perception of quality of services in higher education and is in accordance with the specific conditions of the higher education in the Republic of Croatia.
Keywords: Measuring, quality, managing quality, research.