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Student Tracking Finds Limited Learning in College

World  (tags: Student, education, learning, college )

- 3046 days ago -
A new study provides disturbing answers to questions about how much students actually learn in college -- for many, not much -- and has inflamed a debate about the value of an American higher education.


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Rajee Seetharam (138)
Wednesday January 19, 2011, 3:07 am
This is important news....and will always be. Noted and thanks.

Sharon Balloch (127)
Wednesday January 19, 2011, 3:38 am
Yikes.. well I know my daughters got their education .. guess the school also makes a difference.
But I have talked to a couple of computer grads and was shocked by what they did not know and wondered what they had learned.

Carol H (229)
Wednesday January 19, 2011, 4:49 am
thanks Anna, noted

Wednesday January 19, 2011, 6:25 am
This is not surprising. I was educated in Canada during the 50s and 60s and then immigrated to the US...where the level of education was inferior even in the 70s. After putting a couple of children through school here, I'm astonished at how the quality of education declined since then.
It's shameful to think that the US has such a low standard of education, and now with such deep budget cuts to education, it's just going to put the US on a collision course with failure.
It's a big mistake to cut back on education.

Cary Mostly-Away (94)
Wednesday January 19, 2011, 8:06 am
Get a degree in Worthlessness.
Join the under employed
and learn how to flip burgers at the end of it all.
Debt slaves forever.

Trequl M (170)
Wednesday January 19, 2011, 8:39 am
Noted with thanks.

Brittany D (28)
Wednesday January 19, 2011, 8:41 am
Not surprising, I learned little at college.

Past Member (0)
Wednesday January 19, 2011, 9:47 am
The study only covers up to Sophomore year. Most students only begin their major that year, and the first classes are intended to make sure everybody is up to speed. New material tends to only really get going the next year,

Fiona Ogilvie (562)
Wednesday January 19, 2011, 9:48 am
I think student tracking should be illegal. Sorry, Anna.

Angela Dubie (306)
Wednesday January 19, 2011, 9:59 am
Buying an education does guarantee a job, or an education for that matter
It's all about the money, and the right to discriminate against people without the right of paper!
Degrees are about as valuable as out green back currency, and it depreciates more and more with mass production!

Robert O (12)
Wednesday January 19, 2011, 10:00 am
It does depend on the student and on the institutions, but in general I don't see college educated people as being that much smarter (many of them just walk around with their noses in the air and think they are. Fools.) Many of the companies I worked at, the supposedly intelligent college educated people couldn't do the simplest things (spell, problem solve, use proper grammar, be organized, have people skils, etc.) and as usual it was the lowly, uneducated, overworked support staff (like me) that had to run the show and do all the work and make the executive decisions. Big surprise. Sure many of them get paid more because in essence they bought a diploma that enables them to start off higher on the corporate ladder, but it in no way makes them better people or better workers that are worth those ridiculous salaries. Many people are worth their weight in gold, but many are not worth even two cents.

Angela Dubie (306)
Wednesday January 19, 2011, 10:11 am
Grades and degrees are based on conformity, and most of the bright thinkers are denied an education because thay partake in smoking Marijuana, and the job market excludes the free thinkers as well!
It takes a dumbded down populas to go along with the globalist aganda!
Hitlers bigorty forced Einstein to flee Germany, but it was his free thinking ability that won the war for the U.S.! Common sence is drowned out, wisdom is not the answers that they seek, only conformity to their bogeted standards!

Angela Dubie (306)
Wednesday January 19, 2011, 10:24 am
How much did you have to pay for your American degree of nobility?
Degrees assures that equality is an antiquated ideal!
Robert is so right! DEGREES, don't make you intelligent in mind and thought, but only in title and appearance!

Nancy sands (448)
Wednesday January 19, 2011, 1:40 pm
I always figured getting a BS degree stood for Bull Shit! On the job training and life experience is more valuable then most of the crap they teach you in college! My sister went to a community college and I have a Master's degree and she makes twice my salary! How's that for a slap in the face!

Destiney E (3)
Wednesday January 19, 2011, 1:46 pm
It's all about the health and emotional welfare of the people, not how hard you push them, or how much you just give away to them... China's people... are kicking our asses in intelligence, not because they get a free ride, but because their government makes them FEEL that they have nothing more to worry about but learning... exploring...

William Y (54)
Wednesday January 19, 2011, 3:36 pm
It shows how education is, when a person has to go to H & R Block to fill out the short tax form.

Bindy Hopper (0)
Wednesday January 19, 2011, 4:07 pm
Like all education- it depends on where you go and what you went there to get; Though I totally agree that college professors are pressured by student evaluations and class enrollment to be easy. Harder, more rigorous professors can lose their jobs if students don't take their classes, and students will certainly not take professors whose pack on the work if they can avoid it. I worked super hard and had a lot of honors courses in college, but some students have it right- it certainly didn't set me apart from my peers to have worked so much harder when I could have taken easier classes and had a better final GPA. My advice- don't go into debt for college, but try, even if it takes you ten years, to get that degree. It is personally worth it, but not financially.

Norm C (74)
Wednesday January 19, 2011, 4:57 pm
This is just another example of the commercialization and corporatization of education.

Tenure is given to people with a best-seller. Tenure is given to researchers who never set foot in an undergrad classroon.

Tenure is denied to the instructors doing the actual teaching. In fact full time employment is denied to most instructors these days.

This is all part of the same starve the institutions of highter learning and of any other learning. All you have to do is look at tuition at any public college or university. Tuition has increased at least 10x - 20x the cost of 40 years ago. Walk around almost any middle or high school in the country. Check out the vending machines, the advertising banners; none of those existed 30 years ago. Walk around any elementary school and attend a PTA meeting; the fundraising for normal operations has skyrocketed over the last 30 - 40 years.

None of this is accidental. It is deliberate. It is a conscious campaign by BIG money and the corporate community to prevent anything like really educated citizens from seriously examining what is going on in the country. The 60s scared the living daylights out of the elites who for a hundred years had counted on a citizenry easily distracted to prevent having to answer difficult questions and face the wrath of an informed electorate. They have launched spurious campaigns against learning and critical thinking at every level by their "accountability" and "back to basics" crusades that have given us standardized tests that test nothing, that only turn education into memorization drills.

They have given us multiple choice exams in college that require little thought and mere memorization of decontextualized trivia. How do multiple guess exams correlate with the starvation of higher ed? Staff cuts. Diminished tenure tracks. Massive salaries for CEO presidents and chancellors, who have almost no real understanding of the learning process, hired from corporate America with corporate money with strings attached as their paramount agenda.

The result is that we get shotgun PR campaigns like the "Waiting for Superman" atrocity, privatizing public schools, "choice", vouchers, charter schools, standardized testing, anything except actually taking a good hard look at what it takes to educate. Why?

Education is not the goal. Spending less and getting a compliant workforce is the goal.

. (0)
Wednesday January 19, 2011, 5:16 pm
The dumbing down of college education has been going on for decades.
When I was a high school English teacher, every year we would have representatives from colleges meet with our seniors. I worked in an urban school mind you. These people would offer the moon if a senior would sign up(fill out an application). The trick was to sign as many minority students into their colleges. If they didn't attend, that was not the fault of the college. The effort was to reach a minority quota - at least on paper.

Jennifer G (14)
Wednesday January 19, 2011, 5:41 pm
"One problem is that students just aren't asked to do much, according to findings..." I wish it weren't true, but the standards in college are being forced down by the abysmal secondary education our students are getting.

Mary Donnelly (47)
Wednesday January 19, 2011, 6:03 pm
Thanks Anna. This post helps to explain by the USA spends so much on education for little bang for its buck.

Geynell Eskite (68)
Wednesday January 19, 2011, 6:08 pm
I guess education, like most things in life, gives you back what you put into it. What kind of major can you pursue that doesn't require extensive writing? College is not suppose to make us smarter, it is suppose to teach us to ask better questions. But I agree, that even that modest outcome is lost on some people.

Norm C (74)
Wednesday January 19, 2011, 6:57 pm
Did you notice that our children "is learning" when they take typical liberal arts courses, social sciences? It's when they take vocational related courses, apparently, that they don't do no larnin. Foremost among the non-learning degrees, in my opinion, are the business and commerce degrees, economics and the MBA (the three most dangerous letters in the English alphabet when juxtaposed). These "schools" primarily offer indoctrination rather than education.


Wednesday January 19, 2011, 7:14 pm
Why educate someone you are about to fleece? Plus, how are people like Larry Sumners going to find time to pursue more important endeavors if they have to worry about what students are learning?

Ann L (15)
Wednesday January 19, 2011, 7:50 pm
Educating our students is the back bone of our country and future. Hopefully this study will look at the problem areas and rectify them soon.

Shirley S (187)
Wednesday January 19, 2011, 9:10 pm
Sometimes LIFE can offer the best education.

Lloyd H (46)
Wednesday January 19, 2011, 9:26 pm
I do not think the main part of the problem is with the schools in general, in particular definitely when one considers the private 'religious' ones that are being run to turn out Repug-Christian Taliban of America operatives ,lawyers and politicians. But that aside, there are two things and both of them relate to the student. First no student is going to get any more or less out of any educational opportunity than they actually put into it. And there is now way around that fact if you go to school with the attitude that it is some kind of non-participatory assembly line where you go to be filled with information and the thinking ability to use it like some empty bottle in a factory is filled with ketchup, you are going to come out as poorly off as the study indicates. But if one goes with the intention to actually participate with your effort in and use the system to your own benefit and actually work, of your own initiative to use the available resources for your benefit then I think you are going to benefit and so will America and the world at large. Second; there is the 'new media' effect where no, or damn little, effort/work/initiative is used in either finding or using information or entertainment both have become spectator sports with technology supplies the work and effort. Entertainment requires no self generated imagination or thought, one is entertained by an external technology. Language has become a gross distortion of abbreviations for petty narcissistic self aggrandizement of no real significance or benefit to anyone but the companies that provide the cell/wifi/INTERNET access. One can teach students to read, write, compose, do math scientific fact and historical dates and consequences But Unless One Teaches How To Learn, How To Use language, How to Use Math Or Science, or Learn From History it is GIGO (Garbage In Garbage Out) and serves none not the student, not society nothing. Teach reading and writing for content and communication all you want but if for most of their day students only communicate in short spurts that communicate nothing of any value except social interaction that is based on personal aggrandizement and petty non-information the lesson is lost. I like technology but we are beginning to live in a world where knowledge and information require less and less thought, where anything can pass it self off as fact because people are just to damn lazy to check and think and then decide for them selves. We are at a point where the distinction between 'instant communication' is mistaken for 'effective communication' and the distinction between 'information supplied on demand' is mistaken for 'reliable information available' nearly all, if not all, search engines are controlled by profit motives and idealogical biases. We can provide the opportunity to learn and to think and to communicate but as the saying goes,'You Can Lead A horse To Water But You Can Not Make It Drink'. Perhaps is best for us to look at changing the attitudes of our children and our society toward education, science and independant critical thinking.

Donn M (56)
Wednesday January 19, 2011, 9:49 pm
Well, I'm not sure I understand the first part of that Lloyd, I guess you are acknowledging the good job religious schools do (though I disagree with the silly term "Christian taliban") I do agree with the rest of your comment, however.

Kathleen R (983)
Wednesday January 19, 2011, 9:58 pm
I attended an on-campus university and I did see a LOT of freshman & sophomores (& older) who were not as serious about their education. Older ages are though, especially older non-traditional students. The release of this article is likely to cause much harm to endeavors for education reforms because it spreads generalizations and misinformation!!!!!

Eva O (60)
Thursday January 20, 2011, 6:49 am
Noted - because education is and always will be a very important issue!

Thomas H (37)
Thursday January 20, 2011, 8:51 am
Lloyd's right. Students get out of education based on the amount of effort they put into it. I waited for a few years to attend college. After graduating at age 27, I had learned a helluva lot more than my younger graduating peers. Partly because my wife and I paid for our educations rather than have our parents foot the bill. I work at a public University and I see the waste every single day. GIGO, indeed. If students want to party n their parents' dime, then they can certainly waste a lot of time and money doing that. If students WANT to learn, then they CAN learn.

And afterward, any thinking person can tell the difference in those people.

Aisha Desince (39)
Thursday January 20, 2011, 9:42 am
Well noted, will share on facebook

Jeannette A (137)
Thursday January 20, 2011, 10:53 am
Interesting article...

It seems that, once past guaranteeing the basics are met (being able to communicate at a reasonable level and function in society.... the old reading, writing and math idea) the most important thing becomes teaching students how to learn. With technology changing so rapidly out in the real world, a person who cannot learn and adjust to new advancements are most likely to be left behind, sometimes without a job.

After having gone to a 4 year college, I went back to a 2 year institution to pick up some computer courses and found the learning curve very different. Most of the students had some kind of job and were going back to update their skills or learn a new field. And these were serious people for the most part because almost all of them were paying for their own education. By the time I had finished my courses, at lot of what I had learned was obsolete BUT I had learned how to identify problems and how to work toward answers. This made it possible for me to continue working within my field by using the problem solving skills the classes had given me.

Darren G (8096)
Thursday January 20, 2011, 12:34 pm
Thanks for Sharing

Charmaine C (177)
Friday January 21, 2011, 1:36 am
So the courses are just fact based? Remember this information and you'll pass...meaning Colleges get a good pass rate, more grants come their way and students can spend their college years off their faces without learning life skills. Great system!

jane richmond (10)
Friday April 29, 2011, 11:34 am
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