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Strada Education NetworkSM and Gallup today released new findings from the Strada-Gallup Education Consumer Survey, revealing only one quarter (26 percent) of U.S. adults with college experience strongly agree that their college coursework is relevant to their work and daily life. The survey results were released at a thought leader event at Gallup Headquarters in Washington, D.C., where higher education, policy and workforce experts weighed in on the findings and their implications.
The report, From College to Life: Relevance and the Value of Higher Education, is the second installment of a three-part series examining consumer perspectives on the relevance of postsecondary coursework among a nationally representative sample of 110,481 adults, aged 18 to 65, who are currently employed and have taken at least some college courses. The findings suggest that perceptions of relevance are closely linked to alumni perceptions about the value and quality of their higher education experiences, and relevance is a stronger predictor of those perceptions than conventional measures of either student or college characteristics.
“Education consumers are very clear on how essential relevance is in finding quality and value in postsecondary educational experiences. The overall importance of relevance may not be surprising to some, but the failure to deliver more of it, more consistently should concern all,” said Dave Clayton, senior vice president of consumer insights at Strada Education Network.
New findings reveal:
Earlier findings from this study revealed that consumers who strongly agree that the courses they took are relevant to their careers and lives are:
Results also showed that relevance is a better predictor of quality and value than other measures used in college rankings. Alumni ratings of relevance are two and three times more powerful at predicting quality and value than traditional college ranking inputs such as average SAT/ACT math scores, student loan default rates, average cost of attendance, alumni income earnings and graduation rates.
Clayton added that listening to consumers not only reveals current gaps, but also solutions. “If we are committed to being student-centered, opportunities quickly emerge and point to clear actions for higher education leaders, policymakers, employers and partner organizations,” he said. “Our goal is not to admire the problem, but to leverage these insights to enhance higher education’s relevance and value as a means to help each student succeed in education, work and life.”
Implications discussed at the May 3 event will serve as the foundation for the final chapter of the series and will highlight specific actions and scalable solutions. Featured contributors and event panelists include:
“Now is the time to act upon these insights and ensure every student experiences a postsecondary education that is relevant to his or her chosen work and personal well-being,” said Brandon Busteed, executive director of education and workforce development at Gallup.
Download the report and sign up to receive the final report in this series at stradaeducation.gallup.com.
For more information about how the Strada-Gallup Education Consumer Survey is conducted, please visit http://www.gallup.com/225695/education-consumer-survey-work.aspx.
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