The dumbing down of higher education in the USA
Media Matters with Bob McChesney
Sundays at 1 pm Central on AM580
Media Matters features host Bob McChesney in conversation with a variety of guests. Listeners may call with comments or questions.
Bob McChesney is a research professor in the Institute of Communications Research and the Graduate School of Information and Library Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. "The media are central to all our lives," he says. "Yet the media are the most frequently misunderstood parts of our lives. We want to help people understand the role of media in society."
Sunday, February 12, 2012
Author Richard Arum discuss higher education.In spite of soaring tuition costs, more and more students go to college every year. A bachelor’s degree is now required for entry into a growing number of professions. And some parents begin planning for the expense of sending their kids to college when they’re born. Almost everyone strives to go, but almost no one asks the fundamental question posed by Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on Higher Education: are undergraduates really learning anything once they get there?
For a large proportion of students, Richard Arum and Josipa Roksa’s answer to that question is a definitive no. Their extensive research draws on survey responses, transcript data, and, for the first time, the state-of-the-art Collegiate Learning Assessment, a standardized test administered to students in their first semester and then again at the end of their second year. According to their analysis of more than 2,300 undergraduates at twenty-four institutions, 45 percent of these students demonstrate no significant improvement in a range of skills—including critical thinking, complex reasoning, and writing—during their first two years of college. As troubling as their findings are, Arum and Roksa argue that for many faculty and administrators they will come as no surprise—instead, they are the expected result of a student body distracted by socializing or working and an institutional culture that puts undergraduate learning close to the bottom of the priority list.