This paper examines the elements of overall service quality as evidence for student satisfaction in an open and distance learning mode. It aims mainly at assessing the implementation and utilization of services as expected and experienced by students. The paper also explores the links between satisfaction and grade point average, student persistence and retention. The research was conducted at Universitas Terbuka utilizing a survey, with the data being collected randomly through a questionnaire. The population was 1,154 Universitas Terbuka graduates attending a commencement day in May 2014. Three hundred questionnaires were distributed and 218 of them were returned complete and processed. Student satisfaction was assessed by scrutinizing the dimensions of service quality: the attributes of reliability, assurance, tangibility, empathy and responsiveness. An Importance Performance Analysis and a Customer Satisfaction Index were first applied concurrently to measure student satisfaction and the level of its importance. Structural equation modelling was then used to verify the influencing features related to satisfaction with the grade point average, persistence and retention. Eight hypotheses were formed and examined, six of which were statistically validated by the analysis. It was found that empathy, responsiveness and reliability directly influenced student satisfaction; and persistence and retention were visibly affected by satisfaction.
Gorky Sembiring, M. (2015), "Student Satisfaction and Persistence: Imperative Features for Retention in Open and Distance Learning", Asian Association of Open Universities Journal, Vol. 10 No. 1, pp. 1-11. https://doi.org/10.1108/AAOUJ-10-01-2015-B002
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