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Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name



Education Evaluation and Research

First Advisor

Donald Marcotte


As parents have more choices in selecting the type of educational venue they want for their children, it becomes important to examine factors that could influence their decisions for choosing a particular type of school. The purpose of this research was to increase the understanding of elements of customer satisfaction, customer focus and indicators of quality schools that influence parents choice of either an elementary Catholic parochial school or elementary charter school for their children. A customer satisfaction survey instrument (School Quality Satisfaction Survey), a customer focus survey instrument (Customer Service Orientation Scale), a school selection instrument (Indicators of Effective Schools) and a short demographic survey were used to survey parents whose children were enrolled in Catholic parochial schools and charter schools. Two Catholic parochial elementary schools and two charter schools in two different counties in southeastern Michigan participated in the research project. Five hundred parents whose children were enrolled in grades 2 though 5 received survey packets. Of this number, 130 parents returned the surveys, with nearly equal representation from both Catholic parochial (n = 64) and charter school (n = 66) parents. The study found significant differences between parents in the two types of school on the indicators of effective schools. Parents of children in charter schools considered teacher reputation and special programs more important than parents of children in Catholic parochial schools. On the Customer Service Orientation Scale, a statistically significant difference was found for the physical environment of the school, with parents of children in Catholic parochial schools perceiving this subscale as more important than parents of children in charter schools. No statistically significant differences were found between parents of children in the two types of school on the School Quality Satisfaction Survey. Using a discriminant analysis, type of school could be predicted from household income, special programs, physical environment of the school, marital status of the parents, and previous enrollment in public schools. The discriminant function was able to predict group membership correctly for 73.1% of the cases.

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