Calidad y satisfacción de los estudiantes europeos de educación superior. Construcción de una escala de medida de la calidad de servicio presencial y electrónico.

  1. Ortega Mohedano, José
Supervised by:
  1. Pablo Antonio Muñoz Gallego Director
  2. María José Rodríguez Conde Co-director

Defence university: Universidad de Salamanca

Fecha de defensa: 21 December 2015

  1. Javier González Benito Chair
  2. Ignacio González López Secretary
  3. Johann Nagengast Committee member

Type: Thesis


Research’s abstract (English): The global objective of this work was to contribute to the field of evaluation of the quality of higher education developed by higher education institutions from a multidimensional perspective, that takes into account all of their activities, related to teaching, research, innovation and knowledge transfer. That is, any of the services offered by the universities. The work addressed the question, of how can we measure the quality of education offered by higher education institutions (HEIs). And in particular, how to do it counting with the opinion of their main user: the student. Education is a type of service, and as such, educational institutions that offer it must try to satisfy the wishes and needs of users to whom it is addressed. Getting feedback from students about the origins of the quality of the higher education they receive should help towards reaching this goal. On the other hand, like any other user of a service, in this case an educational service, the student will like to have information that facilitates him to decide for a center or for some specific university’s studies, based on their own wishes. Wishes, on the other hand, probably different -or at least not necessarily consistent- with those of other agents or users of the university (faculty members, administrative staff, employers, society, etc.). Therefore, it was appropriate to define the quality of higher education from a student’s perspective. For this purpose, a multidisciplinary theoretical framework was established, based on an approach, that conceives quality as meeting the needs and expectations of customers. That is, "costumer’s satisfaction", linked to the notion of "market orientation", was the chosen theoretical foundation for the work. The reason for this election was that it is the conceptual core shared, to a greater or lesser extent, by the main schools of thought, which define the theoretical framework. In particular, by some approaches of marketing -relationship marketing and services marketing, market orientation- and from strategy and organizational management -specifically, of quality management-, especially in their developments in the field of education. This choice means, that for reaching quality at higher educations, two basic conditions should be supported: first, to investigate the requirements demanded by students; and second, to recognize that quality affects all activities of the institution, requiring the participation of all members for its achievement. Finally, concepts derived from both, educational theories of learning from the subjective perspective of the student, and from educational evaluation from an institutional perspective, were added to complete the doctrinal framework. Following the Lisbon European Council (March 2000), the European Union (EU) set, as a goal, to aspire to be the most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based World area by 2010. To achieve it, the Education Council of the EU noted as fundamental the role of universities as an engine of change towards a knowledge-based economy. Universities, to that end, should achieve high quality standards in their various activities that society now demands of them. That is why 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 suggests 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. Internal dimensions of quality are addressed, but not external perceived quality by students. This work tries to reduce this gap. Considering it as one of its main contributions, we took part in the open debate on the conceptualization of quality, satisfaction and their relationship. Therefore, we first addressed the relationship between quality and satisfaction in education -and specifically in higher education-; and second, the effect of potential factors (academic years, gender, nationality, previous experience, type of student) on the link between perceived quality of service and satisfaction. Analyzing it in a context such as education, added 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. One specific objective of the work, was to justify and build a scale for measuring the quality of university’s education from the student’s perspective. The scope of this work was Spanish and German universities. Having conducted research in these two countries of the EU, augurs well -we understand- for the applicability of the scale, also, at any academic institution of the EHEA. Work was divided into following sections: First, we established the conceptual framework of work. Second, we justified 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 reviewed the theoretical foundations on which further empirical analysis is grounded. Fourth, we presented the steps carried out for the construction of the scale. Fifth, we empirically analyzed the quality and satisfaction concepts, its affinity and relationship. Finally, after a summary of results, limitations, implications and proposed derived fields of research were presented.