Public evaluation of quality education
Aims of the study are to address the issue concerning public perception of quality education. A theoretical approach derived from consumer psychology is adopted which involves application of dimensionality to schools. There is description of a model for prediction of satisfaction and quality in relation to secondary education. After a review of issues concerning the political context, empirical research, and the characteristics of education, service quality, theories of motivation and impression formation, and definitions of satisfaction are considered. A consumer model of service evaluation is described, with implications of its relevance to education. There is an account of information gathering, by means of depth interviews and focus group discussions. This is followed by descriptions of four surveys and analyses of data. The study shows that a wide range of issues are involved in the school judgement process. A number of categories are matched with service quality dimensions proposed by Parasuraman et al. (1988). Information sources are investigated and factor analyses of data provides a group of overlapping judgement criteria, which contrast with the SERVQUAL structure described. Findings indicate that 'Tangibles', 'Academic', 'Communication' and 'Socio-emotional' dimensions are of consequence in the school judgement process, and various features related to satisfaction are identified. It is concluded that several criteria are taken into account in the judgement process, and a satisfactory model is additive in nature. Although there are important differences between evaluation processes in respect of education and other services, a gap definition of service quality judgement and the dimensional structure are useful. Findings are reviewed in relation to background literature and implications for school management are indicated.