Monday, February 07, 2011

academically adrift: limited learning on college campuses

Video - Richard Arum Academically Adrift interview Wall Street Journal

Salon | Americans are more anxious about education than we have been in decades. Documentaries like 2010's "Waiting For Superman" grapple with a public education system in crisis: overcrowding in classrooms, unmotivated students and the rising cost of a college education. Studies like the PISA (Program for International Student Assessment) rank American students much lower academically than their Korean or Finnish peers, so much so that Secretary of Education Arne Duncan felt compelled to tell the New York Times: "We have to see this as a wake-up call -- The United States came in 23rd or 24th in most subjects. We can quibble, or we can face the brutal truth that we're being out-educated."

So far, the debate about U.S. education has focused on primary and secondary schools. But what if the downward trend in learning extends into the echelons of higher education? That's what Richard Arum argues in "Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses." Arum, a sociology and education professor at New York University, wrote the book with University of Virginia sociology professor Josipa Roksa, and they say an increasing number of undergraduates are moving through college without working particularly hard, and without learning key skills like complex reasoning and critical thinking. Using the Collegiate Learning Assessment, a standardized test, as well as transcripts and self-reports from students, Arum and Roksa assembled disturbing data that reflects declining academic rigor across the board: at state universities, research institutions, liberal arts colleges, even highly selective schools.

Salon sat down with Richard Arum at his NYU office to find out if higher education is really in trouble.


nanakwame said...

Chaos and Community is interpreted by me: the middle class of black folks or those moving into the middle class at the beginning of the 1970’s, went and callously forgot the education level of a community and the acquisitions of skills for basic income and living (14 years of education). Dr. King gave a deep and unheeded warning. It easy to keep superficial idioms and mantras such as We got a Dream. Mofo, I always had dreams. The individual need was replacing the common need of our communities. Boy, I can remember the debates, and the middle class of America gave up free education up to 16 years of education at the same time, all under fighting socialism.
There are many and I mean many young black folks in their late 30’s and 40’s, that are deep in debt and do not have the job based on their 4 to 6 years of college education. Ergo! We had an assimilation of mindset with our previous oppressors, and integration never worked as vision. This unconsciously aided and abetted the increase poverty and ignorance in the Afro-American communities and now as Temple 3 stated nothing new. The conservative had certain things correct, but they blame the ignorant personoid, used blacks as a whipping boy, and made things worst once in governance.
What is apparently new is that this taking of folk’s money has now reached deep into the Euro-American pockets, and many have to change training to fit the jobs of today. Chaos has become clearer, where the conscious folks saw it coming long ago, if not addressed. I have worked over 20 years on this job, simply by obtaining computer skills in 1987, plus I am quite a self-learner. Higher learning should belong to those who are acclimated to higher learning and the need of the nation’s marketplace, grasshopper.

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