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Old 01-25-2011, 10:41 AM   #21
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I wonder if the author feels that we'd learn more by buying the book.

Whenever I read about the disaster in American education it reminds me why so many American teens are applying to overseas schools and why so few foreign students want to come to American colleges.

Oh, wait. That's not what's happening. Gee, maybe all those students are too dumb to even pick the right schools...
The reason few apply to foreign schools is that they would have to be reasonably fluent in say Japanese, French, German to name a few. Most who come to the US schools are fairly good with English in addition to their native language.

Quiet a few go to British schools, not so many to Sorbonne. OTOH don't know too many highly rated university courses in Saudi or Quatar or Jordan.
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Old 01-25-2011, 10:48 AM   #22
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Most who come to the US schools are fairly good with English in addition to their native language.
Fairly good with written English, anyway.
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Old 01-25-2011, 11:02 AM   #23
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Heh, my accent is still pretty thick -I arrived in 1965, my writing will never pass the grammar police scrutiny.
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Old 01-25-2011, 11:12 AM   #24
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Two things that might cause the study's conclusions:

1. Our town's high school is geared toward AP and honors classes--those kids probably aren't learning more critical thinking skills in college as they already have them.

2. College is big business (from the colleges' standpoint--how huge are their marketing/admissions staffs today compared to us curmudgeons' generations?) and everyone goes! Even kids who could care less about developing critical thinking skills.

I don't know if it's in the cited report, but I also read something this week that college students who participated in study groups did worse than those who studied on their own. Learning in so-called "cooperative groups" was a linchpin of my kids' elementary experience--the social butterfly (who already knew how to work in a group) loved them, the introverts (who hated working in a group) did all the work for the rest.
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Old 01-25-2011, 11:13 AM   #25
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The NY Times had a similar article. As usual, the most interesting information is in the comments. I don't understand why they chose to study only the first two years - why not the whole 4 years. After all, it is a 4 year program & many students spend the first 2 years sampling courses to determine their area of interest.

How Much Do College Students Learn, and Study? - NYTimes.com

I am very critical of our universities - for example, they need to get out of the sports business - but this study seems very light in my opinion.
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Old 01-25-2011, 12:03 PM   #26
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Hey, I'll have you all know that my degree in Geography/Geology taught me how to camp and drink beer.
Heck, back in my day, we learned all that in junior high...
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Old 01-25-2011, 12:14 PM   #27
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You really have to take these type of aticles with a grain of salt. They are designed to get you to read them so need to be somewhat controversial or otherwise surprising. Balance or reasonability not required.
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Old 01-25-2011, 12:57 PM   #28
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Heck, back in my day, we learned all that in junior high...
Not all of us are overachievers.
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Old 01-25-2011, 02:07 PM   #29
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Not all of us are overacheivers.
It's a safe bet that none of us are.
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Old 01-25-2011, 02:37 PM   #30
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I graduated college in 1980, so I cannot rightfully comment on today's college scene.
What I can say is I saw a huge difference in my department's (Physics and 3-2 Engineering) expectations of us than other degree programs. I roomed with Theatre, Art and Education majors. These 3 ladies had more free time than I thought was possible for full time students. They had less reading assignments, in-class time, and "homew*rk". So they socialized.
Not that I blamed them...but it just didn't make sense that there would be so little contact with professors or outside the classroom study requirements.
We all graduated into a dismal employment environment much like today. All three struggled for j*bs even remotely connected with their degrees. No luck for all three. None pursued more coursew*rk.
I alone landed an entry level computer programming j*b. I took more part time courses to progress in my career and eventually return to Engineering.
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Old 01-25-2011, 04:41 PM   #31
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There is some truth in the opinion that college graduates "survived"...plenty of college graduates I have worked with over the years do not market the education portion of college well...not sure how much I "learned" of bona fide importance (particularly during my graduate program)...the bulk of my research was targeted towards my personal interests! No new skills...??

Dad (mechanical engineer at Aerojet at the time) used to tell me "we can train any monkey to do this..."
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Old 01-25-2011, 07:54 PM   #32
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If you want a sample test, look here: http://www.collegiatelearningassessm..._CLA_Tasks.pdf

There are three sample questions, three actual student responses for each question, and scoring comments. I think I could cover it in one or two courses. It appears that "critical thinking" is supposed to be taught many classes, but no single prof or department is responsible. That's kind of a recipe for poor results.

I'd say that employers would like to believe college grads can do this type of stuff. But many jobs also require other, more specific knowledge (like how to depreciate office equipment).

IMO, much of the financial benefit of a generic degree has nothing to do with what you learn. You simply prove that you're reasonably bright and have some ability to manage your time. Those two things may be important to employers. But we should be able to find a way to demonstrate them without spending $100k on a four year degree. I think we're wasting lots of money on college degrees.
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Old 01-25-2011, 07:57 PM   #33
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Another interesting nugget from the research:
Quote:
Other details in the research:

•35% of students report spending five or fewer hours per week studying alone. Yet, despite an "ever-growing emphasis" on study groups and collaborative projects, students who study in groups tend to have lower gains in learning.

•50% said they never took a class in a typical semester where they wrote more than 20 pages; 32% never took a course in a typical semester where they read more than 40 pages per week.
Report: First two years of college show small gains - USATODAY.com
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Old 01-25-2011, 10:29 PM   #34
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I started my first college class in 1965. I found out real quick that college was not for me. I did go for two semesters but left in the summer of 66. I cannot remember much about what was taught. I do remember drinking lots of beer and all the pretty girls. I must have learned something.
I spent the next four years working for uncle sam because my grades were not up to par. What a great time to grow up, the sixties
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Old 01-26-2011, 04:28 AM   #35
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Grew up in an in a large inner city.Public schools.Worked a few years after H.S. As a sanitation man.Nothing wrong with that.Went to college in late 20s got a good job.Reason why I"M in E.R. now.When I left my company I noticed all the new folks were mostly young,Asian,Indian, and college educated.Make what you want out of that.College ,trade school,whatever.Learn something that will be in demand.Yes I also like to drink beer.
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