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Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses Paperback – December 28, 2010
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“The time, money, and effort that’s required to educate college students helps explain why the findings are so shocking in a new blockbuster book—Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses—that argues that many students aren't learning anything.”
(U.S. News & World Report)
About the Author
Richard Arum is professor in the Department of Sociology with a joint appointment in the Steinhardt School of Education at New York University. He is also director of the Education Research Program of the Social Science Research Council and the author of Judging School Discipline: The Crisis of Moral Authority in American Schools. Josipa Roksa is assistant professor of sociology at the University of Virginia.
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Top Customer Reviews
The authors' observations about the importance of studious solitude and its increasing scarcity have obvious implications about the evolution of academic life. But I wonder if it is even worse than they describe. For example, the study hours they include in their data may be overly generous. Today, even those who want to learn and sit down to "study" are likely to be immersed in social media and other consumptive diversions. Students have many ways to avoid sinking into the depths of a subject or struggling with well-developed analytical writing, as the authors note. They rarely get honest and helpful criticism aimed at their individual intellectual and ethical development. I fear that the authors' important observations are only the tip of the iceberg. I hope that earnest students will read this book and set their own course.
The author's assessment was made using the respected 'Collegiate Learning Assessment' (CLA) from the Council for Aid to Education.Read more ›
It's important to recognize that Arum and Roksa stack the deck, by defining "learning" in ways that advantage students in the humanities and social sciences. Engineering schools train students in a different way of thinking rigorously and solving problems. Pre-med programs cram student brains with facts. Both evaluate their students with difficult exams leading to professional certification. It's fair to say that neither Arum nor Roksa could pass those professional exams, which demonstrates that these students have learned a lot along the way.
I'd like to see a subsequent study that gets at the problem-solving skills that we expect of engineers or medical diagnosticians, and see how well economists or English majors solve similar problems in their own area of substantive knowledge. Certainly good grad students in the various fields I know can solve problems effectively, but undergrads are a mixed bag.
Setting that aside, there is a lot of provocative material here. When we look at their preferred measure, "critical learning," students in math, science, social sciences and the humanities do make progress. Business students, or those in social work and (ahem) education - - not so much.Read more ›
Also because they surveyed students at only 20 schools, they are unable to say whether certain schools do a better job than others at fostering gains. For instance, do liberal arts colleges (there are two) do better? Do some schools perform better?
And they criticize surveys like the National Survey of Student Engagement because, as they ask, can we really depend on a self-report surveys to accurately measure learning, because respondents' memories are fallible. (Of course, that's true.) But they themselves depend on self-report surveys by students to describe which student-reported activities lead to more learning.
The book is worth buying, but one has to wonder whether their methods and findings warrant an entire book. Then again, it might take the publication of a book to engender the huge media coverage the study has received. And maybe that's a good thing. Higher education needs to pay more attention to teaching and learning, and this book brings that issue to public attention.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great book. This book gives great insight into the modern education system in America.Published 4 months ago by Trevor Tilley
The premise of the book is that a college student does not get his money's worth, academically, from attending college. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Cardinalis
Not what I'd call a page-turner, but then monographs based on social science research seldom sparkle with lively prose. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Dennis W. Organ
Confirms what you might have guessed!!! Good on for all parents getting ready to pay for college!Published 8 months ago by Michael L. Felmly
The findings could have been summarized in half the length of the book. It's very repetitive.Published 8 months ago by Maureen E. Reyes
If you ever had any doubt that the U.S. Higher Education system is failing our students, pick this book up. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Aaron Ludwin
This book gave a visual on today's college students, who they are and their characteristics.Published 11 months ago by Theola M.
Well documented report on how our colleges and universities with a few exceptions are failing to education their students - mostly because the institutions are unwilling to impose... Read morePublished 12 months ago by Twice Retired