New Study Examines How Relevance of Postsecondary Coursework
Latest Strada-Gallup consumer data reveals the more relevant people find their college courses to be in their work and daily lives, the greater their belief that they received a high-quality education and that it was worth the cost
INDIANAPOLIS, April 4, 2018 – Strada Education NetworkSM and Gallup today released new findings from the daily Strada-Gallup Education Consumer Survey examining how consumers’ beliefs about the relevance of their postsecondary coursework affects their perceptions about the value and quality of their educational experience as well as their general well-being.
The first report in a three-part series, “From College to Life: Relevance and the Value of Higher Education,” examines perspectives from a nationally representative sample of 78,091 adults, ages 18 to 65, who are currently employed and have taken at least some college courses.
Top findings include:
- Relevance influences value and quality. The more relevant people find their courses to be in their work and daily lives, the greater their belief that they received a high-quality education and that it was worth the cost. This pattern holds true for individuals across all walks of life. In fact, consumers who strongly agree their courses are relevant to their careers and lives are:
- 63 percentage points more likely to strongly agree their education was worth the cost.
- 50 percentage points more likely to strongly agree they received a high-quality education.
- Relevance is related to well-being. Consumers who strongly agree their courses are relevant to their current careers and lives are 18 percentage points more likely to be “thriving” in their overall sense of well-being.
- Relevance predicts quality and value more than other public data used to create college rankings. Relevance scores are more powerful predictors of consumer satisfaction than average SAT/ACT math scores, student loan default rates, average cost of attendance, a measure of alumni income earnings and graduation rates.
“The voice of education consumers is very clear about how essential relevance is when it comes to finding quality and value in postsecondary educational experiences,” said Dave Clayton, senior vice president of consumer insights at Strada Education Network. “The sheer magnitude of impact we see in these findings provides a compelling mandate to fully understand relevance so we can meet consumers where they are and help them make the progress they seek in education, work and life.”
Part two in this series (available May 3) will examine the predictive power of relevance across the spectrum of educational pathways, fields of study, occupations and experiences. Part three will engage leaders in the field to identify implications and solutions to help inform collective work to transform higher education, including its reputation, customer relationships, and role in the present and future of work.
“The clarity and strength of these findings tell us that career relevance of courses and experiences is a key driver of consumer assessments of the quality and value of their education,” said Brandon Busteed, executive director of education and workforce development at Gallup. “The consumer perspectives represented in these findings should become part of a more nuanced, qualitative scorecard on the performance of our education system in America.”
To view complete findings, download the report at stradaeducation.gallup.com.