The Atlantic Monthly: Tell the truth about colleges

September 6, 2009 at 3:11 am 1 comment

One of The Atlantic Monthly’s “modest ideas for making the world a better place” — from Thomas Toch, “Tell the truth about colleges”:

Only about half of all college entrants earn degrees within six years. And many who do aren’t learning much: one study indicates, for instance, that only 38 percent of graduating college students can successfully compare the viewpoints of two newspaper editorials. …

Reliable measures of the quality of undergraduate teaching already exist. The National Survey of Student Engagement gathers data on factors proven to correlate with learning—things like the number of books and lengthy papers assigned in courses. (The organization reports little relationship between having a prominent brand name and teaching students well.) The Collegiate Learning Assessment tests students’ critical thinking and measures progress over a college career.

But the nonprofits that administer the CLA and NSSE can’t report their findings publicly. Colleges and universities participate voluntarily and have control over the distribution of results. Many are loath to put them on public display, because reputation doesn’t necessarily align with results.

More here.


Entry filed under: think. Tags: , , .

Washington Monthly college rankings: Ask not what your college can do for you, but what your college can do for the country Sports not enough for positive development in youth

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. jleeger  |  September 9, 2009 at 9:10 pm

    I’m in a master’s degree program, and wonder on an all-too-regular basis what the hell I’m doing there…

    School is about information. But information doesn’t do anything. If you want to do something, go do it, forget about school (or at least take school on the side).

    School is like a vitamin pill. You should be getting all of your nutrients from doing things (life). But to supplement your health, take a vitamin.

    Relying on the vitamin makes for sick people.


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Jason R. Atwood

I'm an avid trail runner and doctoral student at U.C. Berkeley who studies motivation and the relationship between the mind and body. This blog is a forum to share research, news, and musings about these topics of interest. More

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