Student satisfaction is currently believed to be one of the major indicators of student development in conventional higher education. The mission of higher education is not only to impart knowledge but also to enhance overall development of the students (Astin, 1993). One of the ways higher education institutions accomplish this mission is by continuously collecting information on student satisfaction, defined by various authors as an "everpresent campus variable" (Betz, Menne, Starr, and Klingensmith, 1971: 99). Student satisfaction is the key outcome of higher education and the 'quality enhancement tool designed to improve the quality of the student experience' (Harvey, Plimmer, Moon, and Geall, 1997: 3). Traditionally, the institutions of higher education have used the data on student satisfaction to improve the educational environment in order to create learning settings highly conducive for student development.
Student satisfaction ...
Also it is a measure of institutional effectiveness, success, and vitality. Measuring student satisfaction is also important for maintaining and increasing enrolment, managing attrition and retention problems, and making better-informed decisions in the area of student affairs (Beltyukova, 2002). Additionally, student satisfaction data have high utility as a baseline in different types of student outcomes assessment, undertaken by institutions of higher learning in response to external pressures for accountability (Upcraft and Schuh, 1996).
2. LITERATURE REVIEW
Student satisfaction has not been fully examined in the literature on evaluation aspects of education: academic performance has received considerably more attention. However, some practitioners such as Sweeny and Ingram (2001) claim that student satisfaction, preferences, and attitudes should also be treated as important factors too, especially in higher education. Elliott and Shin (2002) also argue that satisfaction is a worthy outcome variable to explore because it has a number of student and course related benefits, namely: lower attrition rates, increases in motivation and a greater number of referrals. Merisotis and Phipps (1999) also consider student satisfaction a broad measure of the effectiveness of the education process.
Students' satisfaction is an important research area within educational evaluation. The growing concern for accountability in educational outcomes stimulated the need for meaningful and stable measures. The conventional analysis of satisfaction has been based on the assumption that satisfaction is best seen in terms of student response to course components and the methods used by teaching staff. Much of this analysis has focused upon comparing mean