Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to examine the performance of five alternative measures of service quality in the high education sector – service quality (SERVQUAL), importance‐weighted SERVQUAL, service performance (SERVPERF), importance‐weighted SERVPERF, and higher education performance (HEdPERF). Design/methodology/approach – Data were collected by means of a structured questionnaire containing perception items enhanced from the SERVPERF and HEdPERF scales and expectation items from the SERVQUAL scale, modified to fit into the higher education (HE) sector. The first draft of the questionnaire was subject to a pilot testing through a focus group and an expert evaluation. Data were gathered from a sample of 360 students of a Portuguese University in Lisbon. Scales were compared in terms of unidimensionality, reliability, validity and explained variance. Findings – It can be concluded that SERVPERF and HEdPERF present the best measurement capability, but it is not possible to identify which one is the best. Research limitations/implications – Since the study only examined the measurement capabilities of the five instruments at a single faculty, the collection of more data in other institutions is required in order to provide more general results. Practical implications – The current results do make available some important insights into how the five alternative instruments of service quality in an HE context compare with one another. Originality/value – The paper attempts to develop insights into comparative evaluations of five measuring instruments of service quality in an HE setting.
Quality Assurance in Education – Emerald Publishing
Published: Apr 24, 2009
Keywords: Service quality assurance; Higher education; Portugal
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