Posted by: Gregory Linton | 10/21/2015

Parent survey shows disconnect between parents and college instructors

Achieve recently released a survey of parents of recent high school graduates that was conducted in August 2015. Of the 917 parents who participated in the survey, 568 were parents of children enrolled in a two- or four-year college, and 349 were parents of children not currently enrolled.

One of the key findings was that, compared to employer and educators, parents feel that their high school did a better job of preparing their child for college or the workplace. The survey found that 84% of parents are at least somewhat satisfied with the job their child’s high school did preparing them for success after high school, but only 35% of college instructors are satisfied with the job U.S. high schools are doing preparing recent graduates for work/college after high school.

This finding is similar to the ACT National Curriculum Survey 2012, which found that 89 percent of high school teachers reported that their students were “well” or “very well” prepared for college work in their content area. In contrast, only 26 percent of college instructors viewed their incoming students as well or very well prepared for first-year credit-bearing courses in their content area. These differences suggest that parents and high school educators are not totally aware of the higher expectations of college instructors.

Another interesting finding that seems to contradict the earlier one is that only 1 in 3 parents agreed that their child’s high school set high expectations so that their child was academically challenged. If only 33 percent think that their child had a rigorous education, one wonders why 84 percent feel that their high school has prepared their child for success. Perhaps this is similar to the phenomenon where voters rate their own congressman highly but rate congressmen in general very low. In the same way, parents may have a low opinion of American high schools in general, but they feel that their own high school is an exception.

Source: Achieve, “Rising to the Challenge: Are Recent High School Graduates Prepared for College and Work?”

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