The Trouble with Colleges Today


Today a typical college student spends half as much time studying alone as a college student in 1960.  Today those students, who only study half as much, have an average GPA of 3.2, but in 1960 those same test scores would have only earned them a very average C.  College has gotten a lot easier, and is teaching kids a lot less.

Those are the conclusions of Academically Adrift, a book written by University of California at Irvine professor Dr. Richard Arum and University of Virginia Sociology professor Josipa Roksa.  They did extensive research into college students today, campus life, and the Collegiate Learning Assessment, a standardized test, examining 24 institutions of higher learning and 2,300 undergrads.

“When you measure their growth on a standardized assessment from the beginning of their freshman year to the end of their senior year, 36% of students don’t move up even on point,” Dr. Arum explained at a Stanford University Center on Poverty and Equality forum.

They found that from the time school started until completion of their sophomore year, 45% of students hadn’t measurably learned a thing about critical thinking, complex reasoning, or writing.  In surveys, they asked students how many of their classes required reading at least 40 pages a week.  “32% came back and said, ‘Not a single class.’ And half of them came back and said they didn’t have a single class where they were asked to write more than 30 pages over the course of the semester.”

They argue that at a time when average tuition at a private American university is $138, 960 over four years and $39,880 at a public state school, academia is failing in their primary objective of teaching students the skills needed to reach their full potential.


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