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Sonoma Family Life Magazine

Divergent Views about the Path to College and Careers

Apr 04, 2011 12:00AM

Divergent Views about the Path to College and Careers

The 27th annual survey “The MetLife Survey of The American Teacher," released in 2011, examines the importance of being college- and career-ready.  The survey represents the views of middle and high school teachers, students, and parents, as well as Fortune 1000 executives. Despite agreement overall on the importance of college- and career-readiness, the survey reveals that not everyone prioritizes it in the same way.

Key findings in the survey:

The importance of college and career readiness

  • Most middle and high school students (84%) and Fortune 1000 executives (77%) agree there will be few or no career opportunities for today’s students who do not complete some education beyond high school.
  • Teachers (57%) are most likely to believe that strengthening programs and resources to help diverse learners with the highest needs meet college-and career-ready standards should be one of the highest priorities in education, and parents (59%) also rate this as one of the highest priorities.

Expectations for going to college

  • Today, 75% of middle and high school students said it was very likely they would go to college.
  • On average, teachers predict that 63% of their students will graduate high school ready for college without the need for remedial coursework, and that 51% of their students will graduate from college.

Defining college- and career-ready

  • Nearly all English (99%) and math (92%) teachers rate the ability to write clearly and persuasively as absolutely essential or very important. But far fewer English (45%) and math (50%) teachers view knowledge and ability in higher-level mathematics, such as trigonometry and calculus, as absolutely essential or very important.
  • Despite a national emphasis by many corporations to improve America’s math and science teaching, just 3 in 10 executives surveyed (31%) say advanced science courses are absolutely essential or very important for college- and career-readiness. Only 40% say advanced math knowledge and skills are this critical. In contrast, executives rate critical thinking (99%), problem solving (99 percent), and strong writing skills (97%) as absolutely essential or very important.
  • Two-thirds of teachers (63%), parents (63%), and Fortune 1000 executives (65%) think that knowledge of other cultures and international issues is absolutely essential or very important to be ready for college and a career.

The reports for the entire series are available online at www.metlife.com/teachersurvey with links to the ERIC (Education Resources Information Center) website: http://eric.ed.gov.