New book argues US institutions failing at undergraduate education

January 18, 2011

A book released Tuesday suggests that for many students, 4 years of undergraduate classes make little difference in their ability to synthesize knowledge and put complex ideas to paper. Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses cites data from student surveys and transcript analyses to show that many students have minimal classwork expectations, and then tracks the academic gains (or stagnation) of 2,300 students of traditional college age studying at a range of 4-year institutions. For example, the book reports that 36% of the students saw no statistically significant gains in their College Learning Assessment scores between their freshman and senior years. The book is already drawing critics, who say the analysis falls short in its assessments of certain teaching and learning methods. The Chronicle of Higher Education (free access) | Inside Higher Ed