Article 1: Educational benchmark study underway

By now, we are all familiar with the new regulations surrounding student recruitment and admissions, and the reasons for them. Unfortunately, the media spotlight on a few bad apples has tarnished America’s opinion of career colleges as a whole, and we now have an uphill battle to fight to regain the trust of taxpayers and potential students. Winning that battle starts with accurate and timely information.

The Imagine America Foundation (IAF) and Wonderlic have jointly initiated a research project that will develop educational benchmarks of student attitudes, opinions, performance, and satisfaction that can be used to help future students have the best overall educational experience, as well as begin to dispel the cloud of doubt around our industry. These benchmarks can be utilized as standards by which schools can support the improvement of their administrative and classroom processes. This project will strive to identify the key influencing factors of student satisfaction, academic achievement, and gainful employment.

“Working to improve the student experience has become an important objective for the Foundation.  We started with a quarterly student experience survey, which is sent to our Imagine America applicants, and now we are expanding this by working with Wonderlic on the Education Benchmark survey,” said Bob Martin, president of the Imagine America Foundation.  “We hope the results of our research will provide schools with invaluable information about the student experience, leading to improvements in the overall experience for career college students!”

About the Study
Over 50,000 students nationwide in four categories will be invited to participate in the study: Current Students, Graduates, Dropouts, and Students Who Declined Admission. An adaptive survey will be administered, and responses will provide insight into student satisfaction, engagement, and the impact of education on job outcomes.

“Our adaptive survey technology provides a unique, customized experience for participants with varying education milestones and enrollment statuses,” states Ken Silber, Vice President and General Manager with Wonderlic. “This focused survey will capture appropriate student feedback and result in very meaningful data we can use to build benchmarks across the entire spectrum of career schools.”

 Educational Benchmark Survey 

The content of the survey has been designed to objectively gather relevant information in seven target areas (see INFOGRAPHIC) and present results, trends, comments, and recommendations that help drive continuous improvement. Content development has been completed and is currently under final review, a process that includes input from several respected subject matter experts.

Response options will allow participants to rate their degree of satisfaction. Sample statements include:

  • Recruitment: The program description on the school’s website was accurate.
  • Admissions: The Admissions Rep was honest.
  • Academics: My classes were/are well structured and productive.
  • Student Engagement: I was/am proud to attend this school.
  • Graduation: The training I received helped me get a better job.
  • Employment: The school accurately described the job opportunities that were available to graduates.
  • Success: It is important to me to pay back my student loans.

“We are very excited to work with IAF on this project,” says Mr. Silber. “The results will help articulate the value career schools provide, as well as identify improvement opportunities for the delivery of education.”

The survey is scheduled to launch in January, and IAF and Wonderlic will work together to promote and publish the final results later this year.
Improving enrollment begins with understanding both the values and the shortcomings career schools offer, but it doesn’t end there. This study will provide both concrete benchmarks by which schools can measure themselves, as well as insight the industry can use to develop an action plan to solidify America’s trust.

For more information or to participate in the study, please contact Ken Silber at ken.silber@wonderlic.com or 800.977.1401.

Go to next article in series, Questions Finalized and Surveys Deployed, Preliminary Findings.