Survey research and design in psychology/Assessment/Project/Lab report/Topics/Satisfaction

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Satisfaction can be understood as a function of the degree of match between needs/expectations and actual experiences. According to Starr, Betz, and Menne (1972), satisfaction represents the extent to which an individual feels a particular environment is meeting his/her needs. Students must interact effectively with their academic environments to remain in them and academic environments must reflect individual needs and reward students for their efforts (Pennington, Zvonkovic, & Wilson, 1989)

Investment model[edit | edit source]

Student satisfaction can be seen as a measure of the effectiveness of a university (Orpen, 1990). Satisfied students have been reported to study harder and perform better (Orpen). Hatcher, Kryter, Prus, and Fitzgerald (1992) proposed an investment model of student satisfaction (see also Witt & Handal, 1984). This model stated that satisfaction is determined by rewards minus costs. Rewards can be seen as the positive outcomes of attending university whereas costs can be seen as the negative features of attending university (Hatcher et al.). For example, if a student has a favourable perception of staff/teaching quality, academic opportunities, and social opportunities then their satisfaction levels are likely to be higher (Hatcher et al.; Orpen, 1990). As for costs, if a student experiences hardship as a result of their university experience (such as financial trouble, social problems and feelings of pressure) then their satisfaction levels are like to be reduced (Hatcher et al.). Overall satisfaction levels have been found to be valid predictors of students' commitment to complete their course (Hatcher et al.); low satisfaction for university students is likely to contribute to a higher likelihood of not completing. See also Bennett (2003).

Attrition[edit | edit source]

A number of studies suggest that dissatisfaction is significantly related to high student turn over, rates of attrition and lower levels of achievement (Betz, Menne, Starr & Klingensmith; Hatcher et al., 1992).

DEST (2004) reported university attrition rates (for commencing students) as:

  • 18.0% (international)
  • 21.2% (Australia)

Mature-age undergraduate students as well as postgraduate students generally have higher attrition rates than their younger counterparts (DEST, 2004). However, whilst enrolled, mature-age students tend to equal or out-perform standard students in scholastic achievement (DEST).

References[edit | edit source]

  • Aitken, N. D. (1982). College student performance, satisfaction and retention: specification and estimation of a structural model. The Journal of Higher Education, 53, 32-50.
  • Bennett, R. (2003). Determinants of undergraduate student drop out rates in a university business studies department. Journal of Higher Education, 27, 123-141.
  • Betz, E. L., Menne, J. W., Starr, A. M., Klingensmith, J. E. (1971). A dimensional analysis of college student satisfaction. Measurement and Evaluation in Guidance, 4, 99-106.
  • Department of Education, Science and Training (DEST). (2004). Higher education attrition rates 1994- 2002: A brief overview. Retrieved 1 May, 2008.
  • Donohue, T. L. & Wong, E. H. (1997). Achievement motivation and college satisfaction in traditional and nontraditional students. Education, 118, 237-243. (Retrieved January 29, 2007 from EBSCO database).
  • Hatcher, L., Kryter, K., Prus, J., & Fitzgerald, V. (1992). Predicting college student satisfaction , commitment, and attrition from investment model constructs. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 22, 1273-1296.
  • Orpen, C. (1990). The measurement of student university satisfaction: A consumer behaviour perspective. Journal of Human Behaviour and Learning, 7, 34-37.
  • Pennington, D. C., Zvonkovic, A. M., & Wilson, S. L. (1989). Changes in college satisfaction across an academic term. Journal of College Student Development, 30, 528-535.
  • Starr, A. M., Betz, E. L. & Menne, J. W. (1971). Differences in college student satisfaction: Academic dropouts, non-academic dropouts and nondropouts. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 19, 318-322.
  • Sturtz, S. A. (1971). Age differences in college student’s satisfaction. Journal of College Student Personnel, 12, 220–222.
  • Witt, P. H., & Handal, P. J. (1984). Person-environment fit: Is satisfaction predicted by congruency, environment, or personality? Journal of College Student Personnel, 25, 503-508.