Scientific Papers


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ISSN: 2306-3483 (Online), 2071-8330 (Print)

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Academic efficiency of engineering university degrees and its driving factors. A PLS-DEA approach

Vol. 15, No 2, 2022


Rohemi Zuluaga-Ortiz


Faculty of engineering,

Universidad de Sinú

Cartagena, Colombia 

ORCID 0000-0002-7245-8761

Academic efficiency of engineering university degrees and its driving factors. A PLS-DEA approach

Enrique DelaHoz-Dominguez


Faculty of engineering,

Universidad Tecnológica de Bolívar,

Cartagena, Colombia


ORCID 0000-0003-2531-6389

Alicia Camelo-Guarín


Faculty of Military Sciences

Escuela Militar de Cadetes General José María Córdova, 

Bogotá, Colombia 

ORCID 0000-0002-0417-4441




Abstract. This research develops an academic production function for the educational process of industrial engineers in Colombia. The proposed function objectively analyses the relationships between the academic competencies obtained in secondary education and the university. The data used correspond to the standardized tests of 4,977 students at the end of high school and university. In the first stage of the model, the structure of the production function was empirically evaluated using a Partial Least Square - Structural Equation Modeling approach. Consequently, in the second stage, the efficiency of the relationships in the academic production function is estimated using Data Envelopment Analysis. The Goodness of Fit index of the empirical model was 0.89, thus, confirming the relationships between the construct's variables. The model validates four transformation relationships and subsequently estimates the efficiency of the interactions in the production function. The average efficiency results of the model in its constant scale are 16.30%, 2.17%, and 5.43%. In conclusion, the model explains the capacity of universities to transform inputs (basic competencies of the secondary school) into desired outputs (professional academic competencies). Additionally, the model analyses professional performance from the interactions among academic competencies.


Received: May, 2021

1st Revision: March, 2022

Accepted: June, 2022


DOI: 10.14254/2071-8330.2022/15-2/8


JEL ClassificationI21

Keywordsefficiency, education, data envelopment analysis, partial least square, structural equation modeling