An infographic released by Civitas Learning -- a recently-launched company that uses data analytics to improve academic outcomes in higher education -- puts into perspective just how dire the state of educational attainment in the United States is relative to other countries. (See infographic below)
Despite the U.S. higher education system being ranked the best in the world according to data compiled by Universitas 21 in May, America currently ranks 16th in the number of 25-34 year-olds with college degrees, out of 26 developed nations.
Although high school graduates are attending college in record numbers, four in 10 are not adequately prepared for the courseload that awaits them, and are thus forced into remedial classes when they start college. This fact contributes to a staggering number of students pursing a bachelor’s degree -- 42 percent, according to the infographic -- to drop out. This number is about 30 percent higher at the two-year or community college level.
Workers without a degree are two times as likely to be unemployed -- a statistic that is consistent with Census Bureau data that puts the unemployment rate of college graduates aged 25 and over at 4.1 percent, compared to 8.7 percent of high school graduates.
That said, a Pew Fiscal Analysis Initiative study published in February found that college gradates and advanced degree holders, once they are unemployed, are just as vulnerable as high school dropouts to long-term joblessness.
According to the Pew report, the percentage of the labor force confronted with the prospect of long-term unemployment is at a record high of 2.8 percent. Approximately 13 million Americans are unemployed, 4 million of whom have been unemployed for over a year.
Just eight states are on pace to meet the additional number of college-educated adults necessary to satisfy workforce demands. The majority of these states are located in the Midwest or Northeast, and boast some of the lowest unemployment rates in the country. Those states that are most behind in meeting such goals are generally concentrated in the south.
As far as technology in the classroom is concerned, data cited by Civitas Learning indicates that higher education technology spending is experiencing a yearly growth of 10 percent -- outpacing most other industries. However, academic outcomes have remained stagnant, potentially due to a continued lack of feedback and personalized learning.
Civitas Learning is not the first company attempting to apply data analytics to education. Earlier this year, Junyo CEO and founder Steve Schoettler delivered the keynote address at the 2012 Strata conference, in which he emphasized how learning analytics can be used to improve education.