Why Aren’t College Students Learning Anything?

In this article, Brad Polumbo (currently a student at UMass) notes the following

In his book Academically Adrift, sociologist Richard Arum of New York University reports that 45 percent of undergraduate students show little advancement in their ability to think critically, reason, or write well after their first two years of college.

As a professor this is embarrassing. I don’t know if this statistics applies to my university or my discipline. But I think it is a problem. I don’t have any great insights. However, it seems that universities and professors are the ones that set these lower expectations. I have no doubt that if we challenged and encouraged our students, they would embrace the opportunity. Not everyone of them. But college never was for everyone. Maybe that is one of the problem. In our culture college is assumed to be necessary and useful to all. That wasn’t the case last generation and it certainly isn’t true.

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