In Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses, Richard Arum and Josipa Roksa prove — not contend — that students are not learning what they should, professors are not doing all they could, administrators are not focused on education enough and, as if that weren’t a glassful, society is and will continue to suffer is something isn’t done about it.
They draw four major conclusions that are worthy of discussion, and I would also like to draw upon the post just below this one: on Ray Stedman, Body Life, and on how education also could focus on outcomes more — to the advantage of all of us.
If you could do one thing for colleges and universities, what would it be?
First, Arum and Roksa contend that colleges and universities are academically adrift. By this they mean there is too much going on, not enough focus on student education, and a need to tighten up the belt in the direction of outcome-shaped education. (They don’t use that expression, but they are concerned ultimately with intellectual rigor and teaching students to think critically, reason deeply and communicate more effectively.)
Second, their research reveals that gains by students in these areas are disturbingly low. By “gains” they mean measurable change as a result of a college/university education. They find a pattern of limited learning.
Third, individual learning is persistently unequal. That is, students from various backgrounds are making progress in critical thinking, deeper reasoning and effective communication with too much variety. Inequalities are enhanced and entrenched.
Fourth, learning outcomes vary within a school and across the nation. Exceptional students can be found at all schools, but they found exceptional schools showed more positive learning outcomes.
From WaPo’s excellent article: eight proposals.