Quality in Education: Many K-12 Students Behind in 21st Century Skills

    Schools Not Turning Out Problem-Solvers, ASQ Survey Says

    MILWAUKEE, November 12 /CNW/ - Many kids in the K-12 education system are
not being provided the skills they will need to succeed in the 21st century,
according to a recent survey conducted by Harris Interactive(R) on behalf of
the American Society for Quality (ASQ). An overwhelming 96% of adults feel
that students today need to improve upon skills needed to succeed in the 21st

    ASQ conducted the survey to provide educators with a better understanding
of some of the most pressing education quality concerns that are impacting
schools today.

    The survey finds that adults do NOT think K-12 U.S. schools are
effectively teaching the following 21st century skills:

    --  Organizational skills, e.g. to prioritize and manage time effectively

    --  Communications skills, e.g. listening and speaking (49%)

    --  Problem-solving and reasoning (48%)

    --  Creativity, e.g. providing innovative solutions to everyday problems

    --  Teamwork and collaboration (39%)

    --  Science and technology (36%)

    Among adults who think students today need to improve such skills, (64%)
say that U.S. school systems are not making these skills a priority and nearly
two-thirds (64%) place the blame on a lack of parental involvement. Others
think kids lack motivation to succeed (47%) and state/local governments are
not holding schools accountable to adequately train students (35%).

    "It's evident that many Americans believe our schools must better prepare
students to function and contribute in a highly competitive 21st century
world," said Jay Marino, chair of ASQ's K-12 Education Committee. "While No
Child Left Behind has been striving to improve test scores, the survey
suggests that what adults really support are efforts to improve skills like
problem-solving and creativity which are not tracked on these tests." Marino
is also assistant superintendent for the Cedar Rapids Community School

    Other findings:

    --  Kids age 8 to 18 are significantly happier with what is being taught
in K-12 education than adults (62% kids vs. 24% adults).

    --  In fact, nearly 9 out of 10 adults (87%) agree that the U.S. K-12
education system needs improvement with about half (52%) saying it needs major

    --  Men are more likely than women to say that the U.S. K-12 education
system is not doing an effective job of training students in the areas of
problem-solving and reasoning (51% men v.s 45% women), and science and
technology (39% men vs. 32% women) in order to succeed in the 21st century.

    --  Of the adults who think students need to improve their skills to
succeed in the 21st century, 34% of adults specifically place blame on school
leaders for not having the vision to change their school system and 23% say
the problem is that teachers don't have the right qualifications.

    About the Survey

    Harris Interactive fielded the online survey on behalf of the American
Society for Quality between October 19 and October 23, 2007 among 2,818 U.S.
adults ages 18 years of age or older and fielded a separate youth online
survey between October 17 and October 23, 2007 among 1,284 youth ages 8-18. No
estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated; a full methodology
statement for both studies is available.

    About American Society for Quality

    The American Society for Quality sponsors the annual National Quality
Education Conference,http://nqec.asq.org/, the nation's leading conference for
teachers, administrators, and support personnel to learn about the use of
quality tools and concepts that can be applied to improve U.S. schools. Since
1991, ASQ has offered training and other quality tools to help educators
implement continuous improvement initiatives in their districts.

    The American Society for Quality, American Society for Quality, has been
the world's leading authority on quality for more than 60 years. With more
than 93,000 individual and organizational members, the professional
association advances learning, quality improvement and knowledge exchange to
improve business results, and to create better workplaces and communities
worldwide. As champion of the quality movement, ASQ offers technologies,
concepts, tools and training to quality professionals, quality practitioners
and everyday consumers, encouraging all to Make Good Great(R). ASQ has been
the sole administrator of the prestigious Malcolm Baldrige National Quality
Award since 1991. Headquartered in Milwaukee, Wis., ASQ is a founding partner
of the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI), a prominent quarterly
economic indicator, and also produces the Quarterly Quality Report.

For further information:

For further information: American Society for Quality Christel Henke,
414-332-2933 chenke@hansondodge.com or Megan Coulomb, 800-248-1946

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