US Education System – “Academically Adrift”?

A quote from Bill Gates’ summer reading list:

The most troubling reading I did on vacation was Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses, by two sociologists, Richard Arum and Josipa Roksa, who examine the evidence on what college students actually learn. I was surprised how little data there is on this important question. Even more disturbing, the data cited by the authors indicates that students may not learn very much. In their first two years of college, many U.S. college students advance very little in important skills like critical thinking, complex reasoning and writing. I was really surprised to read that.  The data shows that students today spend much less time actually studying, and they take less rigorous courses, most of which don’t require them to do much writing, for example. And yet even so, many students do not complete their degrees. Graduation rates from U.S. colleges are much lower than in many other countries. What’s going on in higher educationis a topic I care a lot about, and I basically agree with the authors’ findings that we have a real problem. I plan to take a deeper dive into this topic with a full review of Academically Adrift, which I’ll post in a few weeks.

Looks like a subject worthy of some more research – will post as I find out more.

One Comment Add yours

  1. Mike Holland says:

    Bill Gates’ full book review closes with the following observation:
    I’m reminded of a point made by Andrew Rosen of Kaplan, the for-profit education company, that colleges today know more about how many kids attend basketball games and which alumni give money than how many students showed up for economics class during the week, or which alumni are having a hard time meeting their career goals because of shortcomings in their education.


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