The educational establishment in America has suffered another blow with the publication of Academically Adrift by Richard Arum and Josipa Roksa. You might have already heard about some of their findings in the media: nearly half of college students display no improvement in a range of skills (such as critical thinking and writing) after two full years, and over a third show no improvement after four years.
Apparently, not much is expected of students these days. The institutional cultures of universities increasingly stress social experiences over academic achievement. A large percentage of students reports taking no classes where they are required to read more than 40 pages per week or write more than 20 pages in the course of a semester. Those who take courses with this higher level of expectations perform better academically.
According to the authors, students in traditional liberal-arts degree plans show more academic improvement than students in business, education, and social work. Hmm.
I’ll give a dollar to anyone who can give me a realistic strategy to turn my school around!