SERVICE AND E-SERVICE QUALITY AND SATISFACTION OF STUDENTS FROM THE EUROPEAN HIGHER EDUCATION AREA: A MEASUREMENT SCALE OF QUALITY OF HIGHER EDUCATION FROM A STUDENT'S PERSPECTIVE
1 Universidad Internacional de la Rioja (UNIR) (SPAIN)
2 Universidad de Salamanca (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Conference name: 11th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 12-14 November, 2018
Location: Seville, Spain
Abstract:In this paper we have tried to contribute to the debate on the evaluation of the performance of higher education institutions (HEIs). More specifically, to the quality assessment of higher education developed by universities. The fundamental question we asked our selves, was how could we measure the quality of education offered by HEIs. And in particular, how to do it taking into account the opinion of their main actor: the student.
The European Higher Education Area (EHEA) requires, inter alia, the right tools for comparing universities. The Bologna Declaration of June 1999 specifies in its fifth point, the need to promote cooperation in Europe "in the programs of quality assurance (...) with a view to develop comparable criteria and methodologies". For higher education institutions, this objective is being articulated, so far, mostly from the perspective of an objective assessment of the quality.
Moreover, findings suggest that we are facing a problem: both this objective assessment, and common faculty teaching evaluations, are focused on “quality of supply”; that is, on what educators teach and not on what students can learn. Quantitative quality indicators are redefined, but little or nothing about expectations, perceived quality, satisfaction or loyalty of students is said. This paper tries to reduce this gap. Considering it as the main contribution of the work, we take part in the open debate on the conceptualization of quality, satisfaction and their relationship. Therefore, we address the relationship between quality and satisfaction in higher education. Analysing it in a context such as education, adds to the discussion, the significance that the very complexity of the valued service, education in this case, may have on the clarification of the meaning, measurement and causality between the two constructs. The scope of this paper was Spanish and German universities. Having conducted research in these two countries of the EU, augurs well -we understand- for its applicability, also, at any academic institution of the EHEA. Work has been divided into following sections: First, we establish the conceptual framework of work. Second, we justify its relevance from three perspectives: the new framework for EU universities, resulting from the new EHEA and the gradual incorporation of ICTs; contribution to the debate on quality and satisfaction; and, finally, the need for indicators of the quality of university’s education from the student's perspective, which both include the online services, and that are valid throughout the EHEA. Third, we review the theoretical foundations on which further empirical analysis is grounded. Fourth, we present the steps carried out for the construction of the scale. Fifth, we empirically analyze the quality and satisfaction concepts, its affinity and relationship. Finally, after a summary of results, limitations, implications and proposed derived fields of research are presented.
Keywords: EHEA, quality, satisfaction, service, e-service, ICT, servqual.