I received two posts on the same topic. Here they are (with their scary conclusions)...
HEADLINE: First Two Years of College Show Small Gains (USA TODAY)
Yes, it is true. The ugly reality is rearing its ugly head; college students are failing because faculty are failing. This is the start of the article:
"Nearly half of the nation's undergraduates show almost no gains in learning in their first two years of college, in large part because colleges don't make academics a priority, a new report shows. Instructors tend to be more focused on their own faculty research than teaching younger students, who in turn are more tuned in to their social lives, according to the report, based on a book titled Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses. Findings are based on transcripts and surveys of more than 3,000 full-time traditional-age students on 29 campuses nationwide, along with their results on the Collegiate Learning Assessment, a standardized test that gauges students' critical thinking, analytic reasoning and writing skills. After two years in college, 45% of students showed no significant gains in learning; after four years, 36% showed little change. Students also spent 50% less time studying compared with students a few decades ago, the research shows."
My rant: this give strong support that everyone is fucking up college! Do I need to give more of an argument than stating the above? Students, what is wrong with us???? Faculty, what is wrong with you?????
A new book lays failure to learn on College's doorstep! This review was written by David Glenn and appears on the Chronicle of Higher Education web site. How many of your classes require writing or extensive reading of difficult material, especially in large lecture halls. What happened to the classic term paper? Learning is repetition. You become a good writer by writing but if students are not assigned writing in their classes, then their writing will not improve. Conversely, a good writer is also a good reader, so if they are not assigned substantive reading material, then nothing happens.
"This book makes a damning indictment of the American higher-education system: For many students, it says, four years of undergraduate classes make little difference in their ability to synthesize knowledge and put complex ideas on paper.
The stark message from the authors of Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses (University of Chicago Press) is that more than a third of American college seniors are no better at crucial types of writing and reasoning tasks than they were in their first semester of college (see excerpt). The book is already drawing its share of critics, who say the analysis falls short in its assessments of certain teaching and learning methods.
"We didn't know what to expect when we began this study," said Richard Arum, a professor of sociology at New York University who is one of the book's two authors. "We didn't walk into this with any axes to grind. But now that we've seen the data, we're very concerned about American higher education and the extent to which undergraduate learning seems to have been neglected." In the new book, Mr. Arum and his co-author—Josipa Roksa, an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Virginia—report on a study that has tracked a nationally representative sample of more than 2,000 students who entered 24 four-year colleges in the fall of 2005. The scholars do not name those 24 institutions, but they say they are geographically and institutionally representative of the full range of American higher education. The sample includes large public flagship institutions, highly selective liberal-arts colleges, and historically black and Hispanic-serving colleges and universities. Three times in their college careers—in the fall of 2005, the spring of 2007, and the spring of 2009—the students were asked to take the Collegiate Learning Assessment, or CLA, a widely-used essay test that measures reasoning and writing skills. Thirty-six percent of the students saw no statistically significant gains in their CLA scores between their freshman and senior years. (The book itself covers the students only through their sophomore year. The full four-year data are described in a separate report released today by the Social Science Research Council.) And that is just the beginning of the book's bad news. The scholars also found that students devote only slightly more than 12 hours per week to studying, on average. That might be in part because their courses simply aren't that demanding: Most students take few courses that demand intensive writing (defined here as 20 or more pages across the semester) or intensive reading (40 or more pages per week). Mr. Arum and Ms. Roksa's finding was based on students' self-reports, but a new analysis of Texas syllabi by The Chronicle offers additional evidence of the same point: Business and education majors at public four-year colleges in Texas are typically required to take only a small number of writing-intensive courses. "What concerns us is not just the levels of student performance," Mr. Arum said, "but that students are reporting that they make such meager investments in studying, and that they have such meager demands placed on them in their courses in terms of reading and writing." Another finding of the book is that racial and ethnic gaps in CLA scores persist—and even widen, in the case of African-American students—over the course of four years of college. That appears to be partly because African-American students are more likely to attend less-selective colleges with less-intense academic environments, the authors write."
This is a wide spread problem across all colleges, from the selective to the less selective. According to the authors. students are simply not learning much, that is if you accept the author's conclusions. The majority of classes taught in colleges today are by lowly paid adjuncts or part time teachers, and it is in their interest to do less, not more. Are the authors right? Check out your own classes. How many of them require at least 20 pages of writing or a substantial amount of reading?