Many College Students Learn Little

Jan 18, 2011 |  George Leef

Font Size  


Many College Students Learn Little

Jan 18, 2011 | 

George Leef

So says this USA Today article, reporting on the findings of a recent book entitled Academically Adrift. No surprise here. Some students enter college eager to study, but many others enter with scant interest in academic work. They've been lured in with easy money and the prospect of four or more years of fun -- "Beer and Circus" as Murray Sperber entitled his pithy book nearly a decade ago. For great numbers of young Americans, college is not so much higher education as it is longer education.


| January 19, 2011 - 9:01 PM

Not clear how persuasive or disturbing this study should be.  Take a serious student—not typical, to be sure—who spends two years studying calculus, chemistry, physics, biology, with some required humanities and social sciences thrown in, probably as an unwanted distraction.  Will that student learn anything?  With even a modicum of work, yes.  Will that student perform better on the “critical learning” test as a result of having mastered organic chemistry?  I’m not so sure.  I’d like to see more data and analysis.  Perhaps the book has it.  The news accounts don’t.