Date of Award

January 2016

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Deborah Worley


This study sought to evaluate the Kano Model of Satisfaction (1984) for applicability to research on college student satisfaction. Traditional college students were surveyed using both the Ruffalo Noel Levitz Student Satisfaction Inventory (SSI) and a follow-up Kano survey tool adapted from the SSI items for academic advising effectiveness and campus life. Responses were paired from respondents to both survey tools.

Analysis showed that respondents tended to have general agreement that the service elements included in this study had some positive level of impact on overall (dis)satisfaction levels. However, the type of impact which respondents reported the service elements as having—large increases in dissatisfaction for failing to fulfill must-be elements; small increases in satisfaction for fulfilling satisfiers; large increases in satisfaction for fulfilling delighters, no direct impact on (dis)satisfaction for fulfilling indifferent elements, or an increase in dissatisfaction for fulfilling reverse quality elements—varied among respondents.

The items for academic advising effectiveness were largely categorized as either must-be elements or satisfiers, with only small proportions of students seeing them as delighters, indifferent elements, or reverse quality elements. The campus life elements had much larger proportions of students coding them as indifferent or delighter elements in addition to must-be or satisfier elements.

A series of t-tests and ANOVAs were run to test for a statistically significant different in importance scores by Kano categorization. However, the results were only significant between those participants who had answered that the Kano category for the item was “indifferent element” versus those that had placed it in another category. This showed that the SSI importance score did not give a full picture of an item’s impact on a student’s overall (dis)satisfaction levels as it did not clearly indicate what the impact of either meeting or not meeting student expectations for that item would be.