Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to evaluate higher education quality from the perspective of university graduates. Design/methodology/approach – Based on Kaufman and Herman's model of education output as well as Yamani Doozi Sorkhabi, a researcher‐designed questionnaire is used to collect the data requiring response to five questions in the study. Research questions addressed such areas as: first, the adequacy of the curriculum; second, the status of the graduates in the job market; third, graduates' perception of their educational experience; fourth, desire to engage in future research; fifth, ability of graduates to interact with the university. For each research question, a group of indicators are defined. The validity of indicators is confirmed by experts in the field. Cronbach's alpha indicated a reliability of 79 percent. The population comprised 700 graduates holding BSc degree in basic sciences from a small‐sized university. A total of 250 of these students comprised a random sample. A total of 126 responses are received. Findings – Results indicated a high degree of satisfaction with the curriculum, relative satisfaction with the educational experience, but low satisfaction with the acquisition of research abilities and research experience. Practical implications – Universities need to be constantly rethinking, restructuring, and revitalizing their programs with employment skills in mind. In the case of a program in basic sciences, the ability to engage in some elements of research is a relevant employment skill yet, in the university under study, despite the fact that students generally enjoyed their educational experience; it seems they acquired little in the way of the skills required in the market place. Universities need to ensure that mechanisms are in place to obtain alumni and employer feedback to enable programs of study to not only be interesting, but also relevant to the community. However, despite the graduates' interest in an ongoing interaction with the university (83 percent of interest), the university under study did not emphasize such interaction. This is rather shortsighted given the need for modern universities to be responsive to the various stakeholders. Originality/value – This paper should be of value to education leaders, educational planners, as well as university professors who are interested in ensuring that university curricula are current and relevant.
Education, Business and Society: Contemporary Middle Eastern Issues – Emerald Publishing
Published: Nov 6, 2009
Keywords: Quality assessment; Higher education; Graduates; Universities; Iran