An analytic hierarchy process for school quality and inspection: Model development and application

Amal Al Qubaisi, Masood Badri, Jihad Mohaidat, Hamad Al Dhaheri, Guang Yang, Asma Al Rashedi, Kenneth Greer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to develop an analytic hierarchy planning-based framework to establish criteria weights and to develop a school performance system commonly called school inspections. Design/methodology/approach – The analytic hierarchy process (AHP) model uses pairwise comparisons and a measurement scale to generate the weights for the criteria. The validity of the approach is confirmed by comparing the outputs of school inspection and the outputs of the model in a sample of schools. Findings – The framework proposed enables school management to address several issues pertaining to its competitive advantage with other schools, the two most important being establishing its performance ranking in the marketplace and identifying the service elements that most require improvement. This study develops a cohesive approach to identify which quality attributes or dimensions require attention. Research limitations/implications – For school inspections, the data collection and computational problems would increase with the increase in the number of criteria and sub-criteria, as well as the number of schools considered in the selection. Although the range of reported AHP applications is extensive in many disciplines, examples in school quality and inspection remain still rare; as a result, this study could not compare its results with other AHP applications in school inspection or assessment. Practical implications – The AHP method has the distinct advantage that it decomposes a decision problem into its constituent parts and builds hierarchies of criteria. AHP enables assessors to capture both subjective and objective evaluation measures of school quality. By providing a useful mechanism for assessing the consistency of the evaluation measures and alternatives, the AHP reduces bias in decision making. Social implications – The AHP model also provides a more systematic evaluation of a given school’s qualitative performance criteria. The proposed AHP model is attractive to assessors and decision makers because its pairwise comparison procedure enables them to offer a relative (rather than absolute) individual criterion assessment on those qualitative factors. Originality/value – The AHP model could become a sustainable component of overall school system quality improvement by maturing over time. The AHP annual scores could be used as realistic and measureable gauges for measuring school improvement.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)437-459
Number of pages23
JournalInternational Journal of Educational Management
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Apr 11 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Abu Dhabi
  • Analytic hierarchy process
  • Multi-criteria decision models
  • School inspection
  • School quality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


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