New grads lacking essential skills

A new study says university graduates don't have the essential skills necessary for the workforce. (Ryersonian)

A new study says university graduates don’t have the essential skills necessary for the workforce (Courtesy Creative Commons).

Ryerson University is expressing interest in a pilot program that will assess whether new graduates are prepared for the workforce.

The program is a result of a study, conducted by the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario (HEQCO), that found that new university and college grads were lacking essential skills like problem-solving and math.

Ryerson hopes to be a part of the pilot, says the office of the provost. “Ryerson will be submitting an expression of interest.”

They continued: “Experiential learning and student engagement is embedded in Ryerson’s DNA and is what sets our students apart from the competition during their studies and after they graduate.”

The program is the first of its kind in Canada.

“We believe students are in strong programs, but we should be measuring them,” said Greg Moran, manager of special projects for the HEQCO. “We’re not asserting that graduates are lacking any particular skills, the problem is we don’t know.”

The program asks post-secondary institutions to conduct 90-minute online tests with incoming students and again upon graduation. The tests focus on literacy, numeracy and problem-solving skills.

HEQCO is an independent agency that formed in 2005. The agency provides recommendations on improving higher education in Ontario. Its pilot program is set to roll out his fall in at least three colleges and three universities.

HEQCO says that for the schools that take part, the results of the test may help colleges and universities understand students’ strengths and weaknesses. Students will also have access to the results to see how their scores compare to standardized scores internationally.

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