|dc.description.abstract||This thesis contains two studies examining survey evaluations of public schools. Survey evaluation results provide a novel means of measuring program performance, which is of particular interest to public administration scholars and practitioners. At the same time, uncertainty regarding the accuracy and utility of perceptual survey-based measures has led to scholarly criticism. Studying survey evaluations of public schools has use beyond helping to answer measurement questions. How parents form and express opinions about public schools has important implications for democracy and education policy. School choice scholars have devoted considerable attention to questions about what parents know and what they care about.
The two studies contained in this thesis look at survey evaluations of New York City public schools from 2007 to 2009. Using a cross-sectional time-series approach, the evaluations are compared to government records of schools’ characteristics and performance. The first study (Chapter II) focuses on the overall satisfaction expressed by parents and teachers while the second study (Chapter III) picks apart multiple dimensions of satisfaction. The results from Chapter II support the notion that parents and teachers can perform intelligent, meaningful evaluations of their schools. At the same time, I encounter some difficulties in Chapter III when I try to use survey results to measure multiple dimensions of performance. I attempt to address one source of these difficulties, and the results seem to indicate that my method is somewhat successful at addressing the data problem.||en