Monday, December 29, 2008

College as a value-added experience

This is a incredibly interesting post at the Chronicle of Higher Ed. regarding the usefulness and value of college. I won't say much about it, go read it! I will just add I agree 100%.


Must be behind a subscription firewall. Here's some of the big points.

So, no surprise, in the latest annual national survey of freshmen conducted by the Higher Education Research Institute at the University of California at Los Angeles, 44.6 percent said they were not satisfied with the quality of instruction they received. Imagine if that many people were dissatisfied with a brand of car: It would quickly go off the market. Colleges should be held to a much higher standard, as a higher education costs so much more, requires years of time, and has so much potential impact on your life. Meanwhile, 43.5 percent of freshmen also reported "frequently" feeling bored in class, the survey found.

College students may be dissatisfied with instruction, but, despite that, do they learn? A 2006 study supported by the Pew Charitable Trusts found that 50 percent of college seniors scored below "proficient" levels on a test that required them to do such basic tasks as understand the arguments of newspaper editorials or compare credit-card offers. Almost 20 percent of seniors had only basic quantitative skills. The students could not estimate if their car had enough gas to get to the gas station.

Unbelievably, according to the Spellings Report, which was released in 2006 by a federal commission that examined the future of American higher education, things are getting even worse: "Over the past decade, literacy among college graduates has actually declined. … According to the most recent National Assessment of Adult Literacy, for instance, the percentage of college graduates deemed proficient in prose literacy has actually declined from 40 to 31 percent in the past decade. … Employers report repeatedly that many new graduates they hire are not prepared to work, lacking the critical thinking, writing and problem-solving skills needed in today's workplaces."


Tori'sPop said...

How do you read the article for free??

azgma said...

I have to agree with the boring part. I can just abt count on 1 hand the classes I have really enjoyed attending. That's out of abt 80+ classes. When I started teaching graduate courses, I asked the students what they wanted out of the class, and then went from there. I think (hope) their satisfaction level went up. Surprisingly, they had a higher grading standard than I had.