Welcome to Unit 7
This looks like a short Unit, but it is actually the most important so far! It asks you to consider HOW quality education could be measured especially in a developing country. Why should children or parents have to wait 5 years for exam results, survival figures, literacy tests, numeracy tests ………. to find out if the education being delivered was “quality”!!!
If you were the manager of a bank and wanted to measure the quality of service to your customers, how would you do it? These are the things you would need to consider:
- Who are the customers of a school?
- Does their opinion of the quality of education/service being received matter?
- If their opinion matters, how could you measure it?
Write a few notes then read on.
In 1982 an article was published in the British Journal of Educational Psychology describing the work of Herbert Marsh into how students could give their opinions on the teaching they received as a measure of education quality. This was revolutionary: students opinions were sought and valued as feedback about what they were receiving.
Marsh developed the Student Evaluation of Education Quality (SEEQ) as a simple but elegant tool based on a set of relevant dimensions to be rated against a scale of 1-5.
He began with the question “what is effective teaching”, and proceeded to research, question, discuss and explore a wide range of views and opinions.
Eventually he had a total of 9 dimensions and these were:
- Group Interaction
- Individual Rapport
So let’s be sure you really understand this. Herbert Marsh decided that the opinion of students was important as a measure of quality. Second, he chose 9 items/dimensions that seemed to relate to quality that students could judge and give their opinions against, and these are listed above.
Revolutionary, madness, or common sense at last?
In more detail, each item/dimension was now expanded into 3-4 indicators which were easily observable or experienced. As an example here is one dimension and four indicators:
Item 4. GROUP INTERACTION (Dimension)
4.1Students were encouraged to participate in class discussions.
4.2Students were invited to share their ideas and knowledge
4.3Students were encouraged to ask questions and were given meaningful answers
4.4Students were encouraged to express their own ideas and/or question the instructor.
This means that Education Quality comprised 9 dimensions and about 36 indicators.
All that Marsh needed now was a measurement scale, and for this he chose the classic Likert scale approach. Here is the actual example used by Marsh:
- Strongly disagree
5. Strongly agree
A Likert Scale is used by raters, such as students in this case, to give their opinion on a number of items to be measured. So if one item was “Teachers are experts in their subject” then each student can give that statement a rating/score based on their personal opinion. A combination of all students scores then gives a total view of a teachers expertise.
Adding together Dimensions, Indicators, Likert Scales leads to a standard questionnaire being designed with approximately 36 question/statements on it in the case of SEEQ, each one to be given a score of 1-5 by every student.
The SEEQ was developed in a higher education setting, and thousands of students were asked to complete the questionnaire on their professors in different faculties. By scoring each students responses a measure could be made of education quality by faculty, year, professor. Then feedback discussions could take place to try and improve the quality of teaching.
You can read a good review of Marsh’s work here based on further studies at the University of Manitoba:
Now take some time to review this type of approach to measuring quality.
- What do you most like about the SEEQ approach?
- What do you least like?
- What have you learned about quality measurement from this?
- How do you think this could be used in schools to measure quality education?
Now, do NOT underestimate the work of Marsh, now a professor at University of Oxford UK and reckoned to be the MOST prolific of researchers in the field of educational psychology. This is one of the few people that EVERY developing country should be reading about, listening to, and asking for help. But are they?
Now click here for the next unit about measuring quality education Unit 8:How does MALS Compare With SEEQ?