Efficiency evaluation and improvement guidelines for community colleges of Connecticut : a data envelopment analysis (DEA) approach
Tertiary education at Connecticut's Community Colleges, in the United States, is facing a public outcry for a higher level of accountability for the resources appropriated to higher education. This study utilized Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA) to determine the technical efficiency of and provide Improvement guidelines to these twelve Community Colleges. Three research questions were used to direct this study: Question #1: How do institutions of the Community College System of Connecticut compare to each other regarding their levels of Efficiency? Question #2: What conditions may account for the differences in the level of success within similarly efficient colleges? Question #3: What factors or constraints create the varying score among the inefficient colleges? Data for eleven variables, seven inputs and four output, were collected on each of the twelve Community Colleges, but due to the high level of correlation that existed between the variables only three inputs and four outputs were used to characterize each college in the model. The analysis indicated that seven colleges were being run efficiently and five had less than 100% efficiency. However, the small numbers of colleges in the study handicapped the DEA procedure, since the number of colleges could not be changed the number of variables was decreased. This resulted in a decrease in the efficient units. The study concluded that DEA was, in principle, well suited for the performance assessment of the colleges. However, the validity of the model is compromised if only a small number of colleges can be entered into the analysis; either a very small number of variables can be considered ( which violates one's conception of the ways colleges are to be judged, and the number of independent variables that can be considered), or the requirements of the model are violated (which necessarily produces the result that a large number of colleges are spuriously designated as 100% efficient).