Year of Publication

2014

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

College

Education

Department

Educational Policy Studies and Eval

First Advisor

Dr. Kelly Bradley

Abstract

Of the many potential and espoused outcomes of higher education, it was satisfaction that rose to prominence for Alexander Astin, stating, “it is difficult to argue that student satisfaction can be legitimately subordinated to any other education outcome” (1993, p. 273). This high endorsement of the construct of satisfaction is backed by a plethora of arguments of its importance for college and university decision makers. A thorough and accurate rendering of student satisfaction measurement is requisite.

To calculate student satisfaction as the magnitude of item endorsement leaves a measure that is sample specific. The goal of a universal and unidimensional measure is only advanced by determining which items do or do not contribute to a model of linearity and unidimensionality. This research utilizes the Rasch model to advance exploration of the variable of student satisfaction. Using data collected from the Noel-Levitz Student Satisfaction Inventory, analysis was conducted to determine if reported ascribed importance and experienced satisfaction adhered to the assumption of the Rasch model.

Results suggest that student satisfaction and ascribed importance do adhere to these assumptions of measurement, but only after ordinal rankings of dissatisfaction are collapsed into a single entity. The determined separation of satisfaction and dissatisfaction likens Herzberg’s Motivation-Hygiene Theory. Additional discussion and implications focus on contrasting analysis when applying the Rasch analysis relative to classical test theory, recommendations of modified instrument scaling to better capture the construct, implications for higher education, and heightened understanding of student satisfaction as a whole.

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