Academic journal article Academy of Educational Leadership Journal

Quality of Education and Student Input: An Agency Perspective

Academic journal article Academy of Educational Leadership Journal

Quality of Education and Student Input: An Agency Perspective

Article excerpt


"Elementary and middle-school teachers who help raise their students' standardized-test scores seem to have a wide-ranging, lasting positive effect on those students' lives beyond academics, including lower teenage-pregnancy rates and greater college matriculation and adult earnings," (The New York Times, 2012) This is but one of the large body of studies and observations regarding the controversial use of value-added ratings by school districts around the country to influence decisions on hiring , pay and ever firing.

While value-added metrics look at the impact individual teachers have on student test scores, other factors may contribute to the personnel decision-making process. In the context of higher (post-secondary) education, for example, the use of student satisfaction survey and even the elusive concept of collegiality are common.

On the other hand, the teachers and the unions representing them vehemently oppose the use of such measures on the ground of arbitrariness and lack of consistency, among others. At the same time, they are trying to protect the tenure system and the pay / pension package under the cloud of economic uncertainty.

As is obvious, different stakeholders look at the quality of education from very different perspectives. While the main players are getting more vocal about their positions, students are caught in between and remain silent for the most part.

This research broadly considers the pertinent players in education schools, teachers, students, and education governing (or accreditation) bodies in an agency framework. In particular, it gives voice to students by looking into whether the use of student satisfaction survey would influence the behavior of schools and teachers toward better education outcomes, a quality indicator.

It has been advocated to adapt the concept of total quality management for education (Bradley 1994, Sallis 2002, Bonstingl 1996, Mukhopadhyay 2005, Fields 1998, Greenwood and Greenwood 1998, Davies 1996). Some schools use the criteria for performance excellence of Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award to improve their administrative process. (Cornesky et al 1991) The award itself extended the criteria and recipients from manufacturing to service sectors, including health care and education since 1998.

Customer satisfaction is a critical part of any quality measurement. It is reasonable to consider how satisfied the "customers" in the education context students feel about the quality of education they receive in the process. Colleges and universities routinely use the information gleaned from student survey to make important personnel decisions. It is less practical, however, to push the idea down to the elementary and middle-school level; instead the results from standardized tests are considered suitable proxies for quality of education.

The issue of information asymmetry seems out of place in the discussions of quality of education and performance evaluation of teachers, at a first glance. However, it is this information asymmetry between the education governing bodies and schools, and between schools and teachers, that drives the necessity of performance evaluation in the absence of direct observation. Based on the work of Feltham and Xie (1994), this research studies the circumstances under which the agency problems are serious and looks for ways to design a better performance measurement system leading to improved quality of education.

The rest of the paper is organized as follows. Section 2 sets up the model. Section 3 looks at the agency problem when student evaluation is not considered in performance evaluation which Section 4 incorporates student evaluation in the mix. The paper is concluded in Section 5.


It is assumed that there are three types of students in the traditional sense: A, B and C, in the proportion of 1 - [[omega]. …

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