New Research Uncovers Causes and Solutions for Higher Ed’s Foundational Skills Crisis

Foundational skills are universally sought-after in today’s Knowledge Economy, however new research from NimblyWise suggests they aren’t being taught effectively enough in higher education. In a survey commissioned by the AAC&U, 91% of employers stated that a candidate’s ability to think critically, communicate clearly, and solve complex problems was more important than their undergraduate major. Unfortunately, fewer than 1/3 of those same respondents perceive recent graduates to possess these skills at sufficient levels.

Higher education is currently in the midst of a foundational skills crisis, one that impacts everything from enrollment numbers, to retention, to graduation rates.

We conducted interviews with 50+ academic leaders to gain a better understanding of the challenges facing institutions around teaching and assessing foundational skills. Through this research, we were able to diagnose institution’s 4 stages of development towards a comprehensive foundational skills strategy, and outline prescriptive steps each campus must take to combat the crisis.

Only 4% of institutions have a comprehensive, campus-wide strategy for building students’ foundational skills from the time they arrive on campus, to the time they graduate, to their entry into the workforce. 

These findings and more have been included in our white paper, Campus Responses to the Foundational Skills Crisis. In this report, you will find case studies from colleges and universities of all sizes as they work toward better foundational skills instruction and assessment outcomes. See what’s been working, what hasn’t, and explore the potential for change on your own campus.