Student Feedback Process in Enhancement of Quality of Higher Education

Student Feedback Process in Enhancement of Quality of Higher Education

Jukka Ojasalo
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-6198-1.ch009
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The purpose of this chapter is to increase knowledge of using student feedback in the quality management of higher education. While the literature includes plenty of theories and discussion on the nature of quality, student feedback, and higher education, very few studies have approached student feedback utilization in terms of two parallel processes: universities' and students' processes. However, there is a clear need for such approaches, since university is the service provider and students are the customers. Understanding both sides and both processes gives a new and relevant perspective to this phenomenon. This chapter contributes to the literature by proposing a conceptual process model of using student feedback in the quality enhancement of higher education. The model illustrates two parallel combined processes and their actions: universities' processes and students' processes. The method and model development of this chapter is based on an extensive literature analysis.
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The Term “Quality”

The concept of “quality” is analysed in this section. The research on quality has its origins in industrial and business context. No universal definition of quality exists; instead, different definitions are usable in different contexts (Reeves & Bednar, 1994). Different definitions are needed in order to capture the complexity of the quality construct, and, in order for organizations to address quality issues that change as products and services move through various stages, from design, through production to consumption in the marketplace (Garvin, 1984; Sebastianelli & Tamimi, 2002). Quality has been defined as value (Feigenbaum, 1951; Abbott, 1955), conformance to specifications (Levitt, 1972; Gilmore, 1974), meeting or exceeding customer expectations (Grönroos, 1983; Parasuraman, Zeithaml, & Berry, 1985), and fitness for use (Juran, Gryna & Bingham, 1974). If quality is understood as conformance to specifications, then, objective and measurable standards are established by the product engineers or service designers for the product/services performance and fitness for use. When quality is defined as value, then price is also included in the product/services attributes that are evaluated by customers when purchasing and consuming the good/service. Especially in the context of services, quality is often understood as meeting or exceeding customer expectations. Meeting or exceeding expectations results in satisfaction (Ojasalo, 2006). If quality is understood as fitness for use, it refers to the extent to which a product successfully serves the purpose of the user.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Student Feedback: The response given by the students concerning their perceptions of the teaching.

SET (Student Evaluation of Teaching): Students’ assessments and opinions on the teaching. Usually gathered and analyzed by the educational institution.

Quality: Concept with several definitions. Often refers to fitness for use, or meeting or exceeding one’s expectations.

Quality of Higher Education: Is affected by the education’s degree of specialty, perfection of consistency, fitness for purpose, quality for money, and ability to cause desired transformation.

Student Feedback Instrument: Any method allowing a systematic collection and analysis of students’ perceptions of the teaching.

Stakeholders of Higher Education: Those who have an interest in the higher education. The primary stakeholders include students, teachers, and the management of the educational institute. Other stakeholders are government, professional bodies, employers, parents, non-teaching staff, and auditors.

Higher Education: An optional final stage of formal learning that occurs after secondary education. It is often delivered by universities, colleges, and other academic institutions.

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