Ellen Peterson, an assistant professor at the University of Hawaii, Maui College recently wrote an article for The Evolllution titled, “We’re Failing Our Students But We Can Change It: Raising the Profile of Information Literacy.” In it she looks at current trends in the American workforce, and gaps in the ways higher education is preparing students for life after graduation. Here are some of the key takeaways from her piece:
- 93 percent of employers value critical thinking, communication, and problem-solving over a candidate’s undergraduate major. (Association of American Colleges & Universities survey)
- Only “29 percent of employers said students were well prepared to locate, organize and evaluate information.” (AAC&U survey)
- 96 percent of chief academic officers “say they are extremely or somewhat confident in their institution’s ability to prepare students for success in the workforce,” compared to just 11 percent of business leaders who “strongly agree today’s college graduates have the skills and competencies that their business needs.” (Gallup/Lumina Foundation Poll)
The growing gap between the 21st century skills employers seek for work in the knowledge economy and the information skills provided in higher education today is clear. It is not only future employers that feel the pain caused by this skills gap. When we surveyed hundreds of faculty across the country, we found that poor student research skills negatively impact instructors’ ability to teach their subjects, cutting into class time and increasing the amount of time needed to edit and grade research papers.
In today’s culture of assessment, more institutions are turning to solutions like Credo’s Learning Outcomes Courseware to best teach students the skills they need while measuring their progress and identifying knowledge gaps. Change is possible so long as institutions have the right tools and assessment systems in place.