Getting accepted into an Ontario university or college is not an easy accomplishment. From the extensive application process to surviving the switch from high school to post secondary, most assume that only the best are able to stick around to actually complete their degrees. Though one study seems to prove the exact opposite.
Shockingly - or maybe not so shockingly, depending on who you ask - one in four Ontario students in university and college were found to be lacking basic literacy and numeracy skills. Meaning that maybe the result of many students not being able to find jobs post-graduation isn't just because of an over saturated market of candidates, but also because some students actually aren't adequate.
The results came from two studies conducted by the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario (HEQCO), published by the Globe and Mail. The studies involved over 7,500 students enrolled at 20 different universities and colleges in Ontario.
What was discovered after testing was that many students had scored below the level considered necessary to succeed in today's job market.
The study itself was comprised of two parts. The first looked at literacy, numeracy and problem-solving skills while the second part examined critical-thinking. The students that were chosen were students in either their first or last year of their program from the range of 20 universities found throughout Ontario.
For the literacy and numeracy section, 45% of students earned a 3 out of 5 that was determined by the HEQCO as "the minimum required for graduates to perform well in today's work world."
While 25% of participants scored below this level, and less than 30% earning 4 out of 5 which was considered a superior score. The second study found similar outcomes as well as little difference between the performance of first years versus the seniors.
The president and chief executive of HEQCO claims that the research was one of the first to attempt to measure the skills needed in the workforce and their outcomes in the post-secondary system. Essentially trying to find out why employers are currently frustrated that the students they are highering don't have the necessary skills they were supposed to learn in university or college to be successful.
The president himself even said, "too many students are graduating with skills in those two areas that are not as highly developed as we would like."
If the results of the study show anything, it's the need for examinations like these to be more frequent and long-term if we want to see a change according to Ross Finnie, who was one of the co-authors of the second study. Noting that such a study could be an "important contribution" in helping students get the employment they assumed they would receive by seeking a higher education, by helping them develop the skills they are supposed to have by graduation day.
Source: Globe and Mail