Service Quality And Student Satisfaction Education Essay

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Abstract

This study attempts to examine overall service quality (tangibility, responsiveness, reliability, assurance and empathy) by students satisfaction of the Computer Science Department. Furthermore, this study is also examining critical factors in service quality dimensions that contribute most to the satisfaction of the students. This study is conducted using a set of questionnaire which contains 22 questions, distributed in the service quality key dimensions (tangibility, responsiveness, reliability, assurance and empathy) to 75 Bachelor & Master Degree students from three different nature courses in Computer Science Department. The study will provide results from empirical test of these relationships. The empirical results of this study can provide support for the Parasuraman's SERVQUAL (1985), which related to the factors contributing to students' satisfaction.

Keywords: Service quality, SERVQUAL.

Introduction

In today's competitive academic environment where students have many options available to them, factors that enable departments to retain students should be considered. Due to the continuous evolution of service quality the main emphasis is on student satisfaction. On the one hand, student satisfaction has been related to recruitment and retention and academic success [Athiyaman, 1997; Elliott & Healy, 2001; DeShields et al., 2005; Helgesen & Nesset, 2007] which has lead administrators to pay great attention to those factors that help them to more effectively attract students and create a supportive learning environment. Given the variety of student's goals in pursuing the degree and the variety of institutional missions, the challenge is to attract and retain those students that are best matched to the department capabilities. Administrators and Instructors also recognize that understanding the needs and wants of students and meeting their expectations are important to develop environments in which students can learn effectively [Seymour, 1993; Gerdes & Mallinckrodt, 1994].

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In this competitive environment and situation, satisfaction with services may make the difference [Parasuraman, Zeithaml and Berry, 1996]. This study attempts to explore the aspects of service quality and the level of satisfaction among the students in the Department of Computer Science.

Study Question

Determine the relationship between service quality dimensions according to the applied environment and evaluate the level of satisfaction among the students in three different nature courses of Computer Science Department.

Study Objectives

Identify and evaluate the contribution through satisfaction of the students by several factors in service quality that will be discussed and analyzed are Tangibility, Assurance, Reliability, Responsiveness and Empathy.

This study is organized as follows. Section 3 provides an overview of the literature on student satisfaction, and measurement of satisfaction models. In section 4, I describe in detail the methods and sample utilized in this case study. I also present the results of an exploratory factor analysis. A discussion of the findings and suggestions for further study conclude the study.

Literature Review

Student Satisfaction

There are hundreds of articles attempting to clarify Student Satisfaction and the service quality of the department, also try to determine what their impact is on one another and on other constructs. One of the most often quoted definitions of satisfaction is that offered by [Hunt 1977, p. 49]: "Consumer satisfaction with a product refers to the favorableness of the individual's subjective evaluation of the various outcomes and experiences associated with buying it or using it". In the context of education, student satisfaction refers to the favorability of a student's subjective evaluations of the various outcomes and experiences associated with education [Oliver & DeSarbo, 1989]. Since satisfaction is based on experience, student satisfaction is constantly being influenced by the students' overall experiences [Oliver, 1980] and what happens to students in the classroom and with their academic choices is no independent of all other experiences on campus life and the combination of all experiences affects the overall satisfaction with the institution [Seymour, 1993].

Parasuraman et al., (1985, 1988) developed an important framework for understanding customer satisfaction in services. The author's propose that satisfaction is based on the gaps among five dimensions of experience that are common to all services: assurance (i.e., courtesy, knowledge, trust), empathy (i.e., individual attention and caring), reliability (dependability and accuracy), responsiveness (i.e., promptness and accommodation), and tangibles (i.e., facilities, equipment, personnel).

Kano extended (1984) the design of satisfaction/dissatisfaction to three types of satisfaction. "Dissatisfiers" or "must-be" factors are those elements of the customer experience that meet the customer basic needs or assumptions and their absence or poor performance quickly causes dissatisfaction; "satisfiers" or "more is better" factors are those components that customers readily equate with satisfaction and with meeting reasonable expectations; "delighters" factors address needs that the customer was not conscious about or was not expecting.

Measurement Model of Student Satisfaction

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There are a number of models in the literature that attempt to relate student satisfaction with its background of qualification as well as explain the impact of satisfaction in different factors. Models vary greatly in terms of the number of variables considered and in terms of the methodologies used to quantify the strength and significance of the associations. [Parasuraman et al., 1985, 1988; Zeithaml et al., 1993, 1996] have proposed one of the most important model to measure customer satisfaction. The ServQual model implies that consumers are asked register their level of satisfaction with a number of attributes using a measuring scale. ServQual dimension have predictive power; however, those aspects of ServQual that deal with student interaction become more important when students are questioned about their motivation to recommend the program to friends or family.

Result & Discussions

An analysis of determinants of overall student satisfaction was conducted using data collected from 75 undergraduate and graduate students. The first method of comparison was accomplished by creating frequency distribution charts showing the trend of percentage of respondents in each question's scale value for both groups. This visual examination is followed by a statistical examination. The frequency distribution graphs, presented in Figure-1 shows the Satisfaction level percentage of the sample data.

Figure-1: Satisfaction Distribution Level of SerQual Dimensions

The satisfaction distribution of different dimensions gives the observations that the department knows the needs of the customers and also has positive attitude towards acceptance of feedback from the customers. The important observation is that the overall student satisfaction level shows in Figure-2 about the Computer Science Department are excellent; where as the physical resources are very much needs to be available and up-to date.

Figure-2: ServQual Dimension Wise CSI

The findings are also to be confirmed from Figure-3, which shows the satisfaction distribution question wise. Here the most dissatisfaction is at the availability of the tangibles

Figure-3: Question Wise Satisfaction Distribution

And most of the people are satisfied about the promises and assurance. This leads toward the results that the management of the department are ready to facilitate the students but the provided resources by the university are not enough to achieve the valuable satisfaction level of the students.

The demographic information includes the following characteristic of participants: Gender, Degree Level, Subject Name, Current Status of Degree and CGPA. The demographics information is represented in Table 1 based on frequency distributions and percentages.

Variables

Frequency (n)

Percentage (%)

Gender

Male

49

65.33 %

Female

26

34.67 %

Degree Level

BSCS

43

57.33 %

MCS/MIT

32

42.67 %

Course Title

Advance Software Engineering

19

25.33 %

Visual Programming

25

33.33 %

Object Oriented Programming

31

40.34 %

Student Status

First Year

0

0 %

Second Year

64

85.34 %

Third Year

1

1.33 %

Fourth Year

10

13.33 %

CGPA

3.5 - 4.0

4

5.33 %

3.0 - 3.5

16

21.33 %

2.5 - 3.0

36

48 %

2.0 - 2.5

16

21.33 %

Below 2.0

3

4 %

Table-1: Respondents profile

From the 75 respondents in this study, 49 (65.33%) are male and 23 (34.67%) are females. Most of the respondents are in the second Year of their study (84.34%). Majority of the students are in the CGPA class 2.5 - 3.0, 36 (48%) followed by 16 (21.33) in 3.0 - 3.5 &

2.0 - 2.5, 4(5.33%) in 3.5 - 4.0 and 3(4%) students have CGPA below 2.

The two groups (Male, Female) are equally distributed and have approximately equal variances on dependent variables. It means the two groups are independent to each other. If the Null Hypothesis of the assumption is "The Mean of Two groups are not significantly different". Then the Alternate Hypothesis will be "The Mean of Two groups are significantly different". To validate the following Hypothesis we will use independent sample t-test. The observations and findings are as follow

Gender

N

Mean

Std. Deviation

Std. Error Mean

Mean

Male

49

3.4991

.38809

.05544

Female

26

3.3741

.53741

.10540

Table-2: Descriptive Statistics of Gender group

First check the descriptive statistics which are shown in Table-2 for two groups. The statistics shows the mean of Male is higher than the mean of the female group. That is, male students are more satisfied on average than the female group.

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Levene's Test for Equality of Variances

t-test for Equality of Means

F

Sig.

t

df

Sig. (2-tailed)

Mean Difference

Std. Error Difference

95% Confidence Interval of the Difference

Lower

Upper

Mean

Equal variances assumed

5.927

.017

1.157

73

.251

.12495

.10795

-.09019

.34009

Equal variances not assumed

1.049

39.187

.301

.12495

.11909

-.11589

.36579

Table-3: Independent Sample t-test

Next check the Levene's test for equality of variances, which tells whether we meet the assumption. The Table-3 have the Levene's significant value is 0.017 which is less than 0.05, it means the variances of two groups are no equal. Then check the sample t-test values read the Bottom line because variances are not equal. Here we have the t value is 1.049 and the degree of freedom is 39.187. The significance value for non-equal variance groups is 0.301 which is greater than the 0.05. So Null Hypothesis are accepted which means the Mean of two groups are not significant different. The degree of satisfaction is same among all the students without any gender discrimination.

Figure-4: Gender Satisfaction Comparison through BOX plot

The figure-4 is giving the median satisfaction level and the similarity trend of expectations among students both male and female. The satisfaction level of the female students is dispersed in the group more as compared to the male students. The expectations and satisfaction level are same in male student community.

Figure-5: Degree Level wise Satisfaction Comparison through BOX plot

The figure-5 is giving the median satisfaction level and the similarity trend of expectations among students both undergraduate and graduate level. The distribution of satisfaction level of the undergraduate students and the graduate students are almost same. The expectations and satisfaction level is almost same at undergraduate and graduate level.

Figure-6: Subject wise Satisfaction Comparison through BOX plot

The figure-6 is giving the median satisfaction level and the similarity trend of expectations among students of different courses; all courses are also different in nature and applications.

The satisfaction level of the Advance Software Engineering students are high and data is equally distributed but the expectations are different in the group. In this particular course the student's tangible needs are minor but the probability of need is high in terms of responsiveness, Assurance and Reliability. As discussed above, in Figure-3 the most of the dissatisfaction is in tangible era which doesn't have high priority in views of the students of the Advance Software Engineering Course.

The Object Oriented Programming students are at second high satisfaction level and data is not equally distributed. In this particular course the student's tangible needs are equally important with responsiveness, Assurance and Reliability. Expect satisfaction level in this group is diverged but mostly have high expectations.

The satisfaction level of the Visual Programming students are at lowest level but data is equally distributed. Expect satisfaction level in this group is almost same. In this particular course the student's tangible needs are major priority but the probability of need is decreased in terms of responsiveness, Assurance and Reliability respectively. Because this is a fully practical nature course which require more tangibles with high frequency of effectiveness.

Figure-7: Status wise Satisfaction Comparison through BOX plot

The figure-6 is giving the median satisfaction level and the similarity trend of expectations among students of different status; all level of status is showing the different maturity and seniority level.

The satisfaction level of the second year is low but their expectations of this group are same. Comparatively the satisfaction level of the year four students is high. The expectations of the particular group are very disparate. Because their maturity level is developed and they become perform good comparison among expectations and satisfaction. All have different mental growth and mindset that's why the data is scattered.

Figure-8: CGPA wise Satisfaction Comparison through BOX plot

The figure-8 is giving the median satisfaction level and the similarity trend of expectations among students with different success level; all levels are defining the effort and intellectual level of the students.

The satisfaction level of the first group is very low and data is not equally distributed as well as the expectations are also very different in the group. At this level consistency is the main issue. They are more demanding people because they are putting their effort to achieve goals and play a fundamental role for the success of the department. They are mostly attracted through tangible things, and in our data the satisfaction is disturbed only one countable factor which is tangible factors.

The satisfaction level of the second group is very high and data is almost equally distributed. These are hard workers but less demanding that's why they are mostly satisfied.

The third and fourth group students are ready to work but confused people. They need motivation and appreciation to expedite the mental and intellectual growth, which is fundamental requirement of the success. These groups have high and low satisfaction level respectively and the data is well distributed. They are having almost same level of expectations.

The fifth group is bit more satisfied as compared previous two groups but the students of this group are not able to understand their expectations and satisfaction. The diagram of the particular group shows the high satisfaction level but most of the people have less expectation due to the confused or complex personality may be.

Conclusion

From the results, it is clear that service quality has significant positive relationship with student satisfaction. Thus, it confirms what other literature try to suggest here, which is by improving service quality, it may potentially improve the students' satisfaction as well and that is the priority of the Computer Science Department due to the fact that they have to compete to earn interest from the students to study there. It is important to verify here that from the regression analysis, two dimensions in service quality Reliability and Assurance are the most critical factor in explaining students' satisfaction. Whatever done to increase Reliability and Assurance in service quality therefore will help students to give better evaluation to their satisfaction.

Limitation and Recommendation

Service quality has been widely accepted as a predecessor of satisfaction and neglecting it may risk the competitiveness of an organizations as satisfaction and competitiveness of a service related organizations are inter-related. For that, denying or neglecting the importance of service quality is the same like risking the continuation and the competitiveness of the department because by taking it into consideration service quality can actually explain high variance in satisfaction. More than that, by focusing on critical factor in service quality especially Reliability and Assurance means that the department is making a way toward a better evaluation in satisfaction.

One of the limitation in this study is to the context of respondents is very limited to only three subject of the department. As the department is offering lot of courses both at undergraduate and graduate level, than it should be realistic that they too are included in the future research.

Further study is suggest to make a comparative study to investigate whether there are any differences in service quality and student satisfaction between Computer Science Department and the other departments.

Further study should also take serious consideration in terms of accessibility to the data collection because most of the instructors have been very reluctant in providing cooperation.