Students See Little Relevance between Coursework and Life

The most eye-opening finding of our study was students' belief that what they were learning in school was pretty much irrelevant - to anything. They perceive a lack of relevance in their high school coursework to college or career. A resounding 57% claimed that half or fewer of their required classes are relevant to their future careers or plans for higher education. Curiously, most students (82%) thought the classes were interesting, just not relevant.

Relevance of Classes

• About 25% of students claim few to none of their classes had relevance, while 44% said most or all classes were
• Only 6.5% of students thought all their required classes they were relevant to their futures
• Three quarters of students said the required courses of Language Arts (English), Math, Social Studies, Science had prepared them to be successful after high school
• The remaining 25% of students either don't believe these classes have prepared them for their future or just don't know

Relevance Chart

While they may not think the coursework is relevant for college, student aspirations about attaining a college degree were extremely high.

• A surprising 75% of students surveyed predicted they will go on to complete four years of college or more
• 50% thought their peers would do the same

Where DO students believe there is relevance? In the business community. Almost 60% of students say they want more connection to the world of work, such as internships or job shadows.

• Only a third of students report having had the opportunity for an internship
• Nearly half of students said having more flexibility in when they took classes would help them work an internship into their schedule


"I feel like certain people know
what they want in life and some of the classes we take are pointless so I think we should be able to choose what we do to focus on what we want to do when we get older. If you plan on doing something else why do we need to know about history we should work on what we need to know".
-- East Kentwood Student

"You must learn day by day, year by year, to broaden your horizon. The more things you love, the more you are interested in, the more you enjoy, the more you are indignant about, the more you have left when anything happens."
-- Ethel Barrymore
more about Ethel Barrymore