Relevance scores have an impact beyond purely educational outcomes–they are related to an individual’s overall sense of well being. Among those who are ‘thriving,’ there is an 18-percentage point difference between those with relevance scores of two compared with those with relevance scores of 10.

Strada Education Network 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.

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.

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:

  • Jeremy Anderson, president, Education Commission of the States
  • Sarah Bauder, chief transformation officer, Society for Human Resource Management
  • Mildred García, president, American Association of State Colleges and Universities
  • Cheryl Oldham, senior vice president of education and workforce, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
  • Michael J. Sorrell, president, Paul Quinn College
End of Report Excerpt