Academic journal article Academy of Educational Leadership Journal

Statistical Process Control Applied within an Education Services Environment

Academic journal article Academy of Educational Leadership Journal

Statistical Process Control Applied within an Education Services Environment

Article excerpt


The purpose of this paper is to propose an approach for incorporating statistical process control charting within an overall assurance of learning system for use within schools of business. The paper applies statistical process control charting techniques to data collected in two senior level operations management courses for the purpose of monitoring the education service delivery process through course goals for attendance and knowledge acquisition. Statistical control charts also are applied to assess bachelor of business administration program performance on the quantitative analysis and information systems portions of the national Major Field Achievement Tests as compared to national means.

The use of statistical process control charting techniques is an appropriate and valuable approach to assessing within an assurance of learning context for schools of business. Statistical process control charting seems better suited for assessment knowledge acquisition goals than skills acquisition goals. Control charting is a complementary assessment technique that should be included within a more comprehensive assurance of learning system.

This paper describes and illustrates a practical, applied method for monitoring educational service delivery processes. The statistical process control charting techniques recommended are well tested and their efficacy proven. While the value of statistical process control charting is proven within a business context for the monitoring of production processes, its application within school of business for the purpose of learning assurance has not been reported. This study offers a practical, proven approach to implementation of a valuable total quality tool by schools of business as they work to continuously improve processes and programs and satisfy accrediting assurance of learning requirements.


To acquire and maintain accreditation, business schools must assess learning. Business schools accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International (AACSB) are required to implement and maintain comprehensive assessment programs designed to ensure that the educational services delivered to students are high quality services capable of achieving established learning objectives for school programs. Those administering these educational service delivery programs have found them difficult to uniformly assess. Currently, AACSB maintenance of accreditation visits focus heavily on strategic planning, faculty sufficiency, and program assessment. Business school administrators and faculty are relatively well versed in strategic planning and faculty sufficiency requirements are relatively well specified. Assessment is the more difficult requirement to satisfy because it is the newest and less well defined of the requirements.

This paper describes a statistical process control (SPC) approach to ensuring that educational service delivery processes produce quality services, with a focus on applying SPC techniques to the service delivery process supporting acquisition of knowledge related to production and operations management. Additionally, this paper provides an example of the use of SPC techniques to compare school information systems and quantitative analysis Major Field Achievement Test (MF AT) means to national means. AACSB standards recommend specific instruction related to operations, and operations courses are likely to require coverage of SPC, making such courses an appropriate context for application of SPC techniques.

This study contributes to the assessment literature (1) by extending the work of Green et al. (2007) related to assessment within a business school context, (2) by describing a specific application of the use of statistical process control charting to assess the quality of the educational services delivered in two senior level operations courses in a school of business, (3) by recommending a course of action for implementing statistical process control charting to assess and continuously improve the quality of services delivered in an educational setting, (4) by providing an example of using SPC charting techniques to monitor the quality of discipline based instruction, and (5) by incorporating the use of SPC techniques to support external assessment efforts through the use of the Major Field Achievement Tests (MF AT) as described by McLaughlin and White (2007). …

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