Deloitte 2010 U.S. Education Survey: More Than Two-Thirds of High School Educators Believe Students Are Unprepared for College

Nov 11, 2010 | Corporate Member News

Teachers call for data to help improve student preparedness

As millions of high school students across the nation returned to classes this fall, the focus for students, administrators, parents, and even employers, has shifted to academic success. The Deloitte 2010 Education Survey, released today, reveals that high school educators think students are unprepared for college coursework and they want data to help solve the problem.

Specifically, the survey, conducted online by Harris Interactive, found that slightly less than one-third (31 percent) of high school educators feel their students are ready for college when they leave high school. In contrast, more than two thirds (68 percent) of current college students say they were “prepared” or “very prepared” for college coursework when looking back on their first year of secondary education. Despite the student self confidence, the survey reveals that as many as 28 percent still needed to take remedial courses after their first year of college. Additionally, previous data by The College Board supports these findings and shows that 40 percent of students will have to take a remedial course in college.*

In addition to uncovering this disconnect between student and teacher perceptions of college preparedness, Deloitte’s survey also reveals potential solutions for improving student preparedness. In particular, Deloitte’s survey found that educators think more data, or official reports on student performance in college, will significantly help them to better measure how well their students do in college and adjust coursework accordingly.

  • A staggering 92 percent of high school teachers feel they don’t have the data they need to better understand students’ needs in terms of college preparation.
  • If data was available, 83 percent of teachers said they would use it to improve subject matter, and (78 percent) would use it to plan coursework.
  • Currently, only 13 percent of teachers receive official information on how students fare after high school: the majority of teachers receive information either from former students themselves, or from parents (87 percent and 69 percent, respectively).

“We live in an information age, yet our nation’s teachers are lacking the information they need to succeed as educators. This must change if we are to improve our college enrollment and graduation rates in the United States,” said Barry Salzberg, chief executive officer of Deloitte LLP.

Salzberg, who is known in the marketplace for his commitment to building opportunities for tomorrow’s leaders and fostering diversity within the workplace, is a frequent commentator on the state of college preparation, particularly from an employer perspective in the U.S. He currently serves as chairman of College Summit, the nation’s largest non-profit providing college-going support to school districts nationwide (reaching approximately 25,000 students). The Deloitte Education Survey is issued annually by the CEO’s office.

Recently, as part of its commitment to provide pro bono services to leading non-profits, Deloitte helped College Summit develop a state-of-the-art data reporting system of low-income, post-secondary enrollment trends. College Summit makes the data actionable by sharing it with schools so that they can adjust resources, curricula and scheduling to increase college enrollment rates. This data-driven approach helped College Summit partner high schools increase college enrollment by 18 percent.

Click here to access the key findings of the report.


The Deloitte 2010 Education Survey was conducted online in the United States by Harris Interactive, on behalf of Deloitte, between July 26 and August 4, 2010. The survey was given to 300 college students (17 years old and above) attending a two- or four-year college, who are not a first-year student, and to 300 high school education professionals over the age of 18 years old. Figures for age, sex, race, region, household income, enrollment status, and type of college were weighted where necessary to bring the college student data into line with their actual proportions in the population of U.S., 17+, non-first year students attending a two- or four-year college part time or full time. Figures for age, sex, race, region, education, household income, urbanicity of school, and school enrollment were weighted where necessary to bring the high school education professional data into line with their actual proportions in the population of U.S., 18+, high school education professionals. Propensity score weighting was used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online.

All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling, are subject to multiple sources of error which are most often not possible to quantify or estimate, including sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments. Therefore, Harris Interactive avoids the words “margin of error” as they are misleading. All that can be calculated are different possible sampling errors with different probabilities for pure, unweighted, random samples with 100% response rates. These are only theoretical because no published polls come close to this ideal.

About Deloitte

As used in this document, “Deloitte” means Deloitte LLP. Please see  for a detailed description of the legal structure of Deloitte LLP and its subsidiaries.

About Harris Interactive

Harris Interactive is one of the world’s leading custom market research firms, leveraging research, technology, and business acumen to transform relevant insight into actionable foresight. Known widely for the Harris Poll and for pioneering innovative research methodologies, Harris offers expertise in a wide range of industries including healthcare, technology, public affairs, energy, telecommunications, financial services, insurance, media, retail, restaurant, and consumer package goods. Serving clients in over 215 countries and territories through our North American, European, and Asian offices and a network of independent market research firms, Harris specializes in delivering research solutions that help us – and our clients – stay ahead of what’s next. For more information, please visit

*Source: ACT National Curriculum Survey 2009

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