An Alternative Assessment Approach to National Higher Education System Evaluation

Kok Fong See, Ying Chu Ng, Ming Miin Yu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


While the assessment of higher education systems is informative to both policy makers and individuals, it is subjective and performed according to experts’ judgment. The present study proposes a relatively objective approach, hierarchical data envelopment analysis (H-DEA), to rank higher education systems. Unlike the subjective approach, H-DEA utilizes endogenous weight determination, allowing assessors to identify the relative importance of each attribute and subattribute. Utilizing the U21 Ranking of National Higher Education System 2020 data, our analysis indicates that the output attribute is a crucial factor influencing the overall performance of higher education systems, even considering countries’ stage of development and culture. The computed weights of the H-DEA framework show various attributes’ different contributions by group. Resources allocated to the higher education system are important for developing countries, while a high degree of internationalization and a strong link between academia and industry matter for advanced countries. Surprisingly, Asian and Western cultures experience similar performance in their higher education systems, reflecting the Asian higher education system’s development toward the Western style. The performance of countries with non-Asian–non-Western cultures, as expected, lags behind, and putting more resources into these countries’ higher education system is a way to enhance the overall performance.
Original languageEnglish
Article number102124
Number of pages13
JournalEvaluation and Program Planning
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2022

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance(all)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Social Psychology
  • Business and International Management
  • Strategy and Management

User-Defined Keywords

  • Assessment
  • Evaluation
  • Education system
  • Hierarchical DEA


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