Rising to the Challenge Are High School Graduates Prepared For College & Work? Key findings from surveys among public high school graduates, college instructors, and employers Conducted December 2004–January 2005 for HART RESEARCH P e t e r D A S S O T E S C I A & PUBLIC OPINION STRATEGIES
Key Points <ul><li>As many as four in ten graduates are not prepared: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>39% of college students and high school graduates with no further education say they have gaps in the skills and abilities expected today. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>35% of college students and 39% of non-students say they have large gaps in preparation in at least one crucial skill; 86% of both college students and non-students say they have some gaps. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>College instructors estimate that 42% of their students are not adequately prepared. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Employers estimate that 39% of high school graduates who have no further education are not prepared for their current job and that 45% are unprepared for advancement. </li></ul></ul>
Key Points <ul><li>All groups call for higher standards: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Only 24% of high school graduates say they faced high expectations and were challenged in high school. Those who faced high expectations in high school are much more likely to feel prepared for the expectations they now face. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Knowing what they know today, 65% of college students and 77% of non-students say they would have worked harder in high school. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>62% of college students and 72% of non-students would have taken at least one more difficult course. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>High school graduates, college instructors, and employers strongly embrace reforms that raise standards and requirements for graduation. </li></ul></ul>
Many Grads Cite Gaps In Preparation College students Non-students How well did your high school education prepare you for college-level work/jobs you hope to get in the future? Employers estimate that 45% of recent high school graduates are not prepared with skills to advance beyond entry level jobs. College instructors estimate that 42% of recent high school graduates are not prepared for college-level classes. 61% 39% 53% 46%
Most Grads Cite Gaps In At Least One Skill (In each area, % saying there are at least some gaps in their preparation) Oral communication/ public speaking Science Mathematics Doing research Quality of writing that is expected Reading/understanding complicated materials 35% of college students report large gaps in at least one area, 86% report some gaps in at least one area. 12% large gaps/struggling 15% large gaps/struggling 11% 14% 13% 16% 10% 13% 9% 10% 5% 9%
Employers/College Instructors Say Many Not Prepared In Math/Writing (Employers’/instructors’ average estimates of percentages of public HS graduates NOT prepared in each subject) Ability to do math Quality of writing Employers Ability to do math Quality of writing Instructors
College Instructors Are Harshest Critics Of High School Do public high schools adequately prepare graduates to meet the expectations they face in college Employers 70% 28% In first-year classes, how much class time do you spend reviewing material and skills that should have been taught in high school? Significant amount of class time (24%) Some class time Very little class time No class time Do not adequately prepare graduates Adequately prepare graduates
Few Say Expectations Were High Academic expectations of me in high school were: All high school graduates College students Non-students Expectations were high All HS graduates Below average income Average income Above average income City Suburbs Small town/rural General studies in HS College prep in HS 24% 23% 23% 24% 23% 31% 20% 17% 30%
Grads Who Faced High Expectations Twice As Likely To Feel Prepared (% saying they were extremely/very well prepared for college/future job) College students whose high schools held them to: High expectations Moderate expectations Low expectations High expectations Moderate expectations Low expectations Non-students whose high schools held them to:
Lower Expectations For Writing Lead To Lower Confidence Writing expected of you in high school All public HS graduates Graduates who wrote great deal Graduates who wrote fair amount/ not much Students Feel somewhat/not prepared for college writing 21% 49% Non-students Feel somewhat/not prepared for writing at work 24% Great deal high expectations, term papers, research reports, senior thesis Not much Fair amount English classes some emphasis on writing skills, papers for other classes 53% 51%
Knowing What They Know Today, Grads Would Have Worked Harder College students Non-students Knowing what you do today about the expectations of college/the work world, if you were able to do high school over again, would you have worked harder and applied yourself more to your coursework even if it meant less time for other activities?
Had High School Demanded More, Grads Would Have Worked Harder College students Non-students If your high school had demanded more of students, set higher academic stand-ards, and raised the expec-tations of how much course work and studying would be necessary to earn a diploma, would you have worked harder to meet these expec-tations? 82% 80%
Majorities of Graduates Would Have Taken Harder Courses Would have taken more challenging courses in at least one area Math Science English Knowing what you know today about the expectations of college/the work world, if you were able to do high school over again, when it comes to math/sciences/English would you have taken higher-level and more challenging courses if they were available? Would have taken more challenging courses in:
Large Majorities Support All Reforms (% public high school graduates saying each would improve things in encouraging HS students to work harder/be better prepared) Real-world learning opportunities (internships) Early guidance on courses for career/college prep More honors, AP, IB courses available for free More tutoring, summer school, extra help Give juniors college place-ment tests to see if ready Require exams in math and English to graduate Smaller high schools, more contact with teachers Require four years’ math, biology, chemistry, physics 96% 93% 93% 88% 87% 81% 80% 74%
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