Student Satisfaction with Higher Education During the 1970s - A Decade of Social Change

Author: Delucchi, Michael
This study investigates student satisfaction with postsecondary education in the 1970s by using a wide range of individual and organizational characteristics obtained from the National Longitudinal Study of the High School Class of 1972. The results favor a conceptualization of student satisfaction as a product of both collegiate institutional forces linked to wider societal definitions of the outcomes of higher education, and organizational processes that enhance access to social an structural support of the student role. The former is inspired by institutionalist theory, the latter by organizational inequality perspectives. These two approaches are integrated into a model to examine student satisfaction along the social dimensions of race, class, and gender. Student satisfaction is fundamental to a better understanding of educational process and quality as it relates to groups traditionally underrepresented in higher education. It may also be a critical mediating variable between students’ entering characteristics (i.e., race, class, and gender) and academic achievement and degree attainment. Also, accountability pressures from state legislatures on postsecondary education have placed increasing importance on the enrollment, retention, and satisfaction of minority students. Within this context, student ratings of their educational experience contribute to a better understanding and assessment of the outcomes of higher education. Finally, satisfaction is an important component of organizational analysis.


“Delucchi…compels us to see that analysis of the current student experience must be multi-dimensional to take account of institutional diversity and the diversity in the student bodies….He makes creative use of neo-institutional theory to formulate typologies and hypotheses about such contexts, and shows that students’ satisfactions have a lot to do with the ways in which particular types of post secondary institutions are able to claim connections with the occupational and status goals of students…. Those concerned with understanding today’s students can read this book with profit. Not only will they learn quite a bit about the determinants and correlates of students’ satisfaction, but more importantly, they will find ways to look at this issue through a multidimensional lens. Only through such a lens can clarity about today’s students be achieved.” – Richard Flacks, University of California at Santa Barbara

"Provides an insight into the problems of interpretation that, ... will challenge users of UK satisfaction data." - Studies in Higher Education

Table of Contents

Table of Contents (main headings):
Preface; Foreword
1. Higher Education and Student Satisfaction
2. Previous Research on Student Satisfaction: A Review and Critique
3. Analyzing Student Satisfaction in Higher Education: Conceptual Issues
4. Analyzing Race, Class, and Gender in Education: Conceptual Issues
5. A Model of Student Satisfaction
6. Satisfaction with Instruction and Curriculum
7. Student Satisfaction with Work Skill Development and Intellectual Growth
8. Satisfaction with Social Life and Cultural Activities
9. The Dynamics of Race, Class, and Gender in Student Satisfaction
10. Summary and Conclusions
Tables; Bibliography; Index