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← Study: US College Students Advance Little Intellectually

Study: US College Students Advance Little Intellectually - Comments

MAJORPAIN's Avatar Comment 1 by MAJORPAIN

I have a friend who recently went back to college (in her 40s) and to cut expenses she took in two 20 something roommates. She told me they spend all evening, every evening except Friday and Saturday nights, glued to facebook. They run in the door, go to their rooms, put their flip-flops on, come running back into the living room, flip open their lap tops and get on facebook.

This is the new college student.

Tue, 01 May 2012 02:02:20 UTC | #938528

MsChelle's Avatar Comment 2 by MsChelle

How can they possibly expect these kids to advance more when key intellectual and creative skills such as critical thinking, complex reasoning, and writing are not focused on as much as they were in the past? Education used to be about reading, writing, and arithmetic, but now, it's just math and science. Instead of making sure that students are using English grammar and composition correctly, teachers are now giving kids credit for "creative spelling" (e.g.: syfy, gr8t. kewl, etc.). Kids aren't even being taught how to write in cursive anymore. It's become so standard to print everything, that I wouldn't be surprised if the standard signature for all eventually revert back to just being a mark (i.e.: "X") again.

Tue, 01 May 2012 02:07:02 UTC | #938529

mmurray's Avatar Comment 3 by mmurray

Comment 1 by MAJORPAIN :

I have a friend who recently went back to college (in her 40s) and to cut expenses she took in two 20 something roommates. She told me they spend all evening, every evening except Friday and Saturday nights, glued to facebook. They run in the door, go to their rooms, put their flip-flops on, come running back into the living room, flip open their lap tops and get on facebook.

This is the new college student.

They are of course reviewing material from the courses Facebook page and discussing it with their friends on Facebook. :-)

Michael

Tue, 01 May 2012 02:10:37 UTC | #938531

mmurray's Avatar Comment 4 by mmurray

It’s good to lead a monk’s existence [in college]," says Eric Gorski, an Associated Press writer who reported on the study. "Students who study alone and have heavier reading and writing loads do well.”

This is complete rubbish. He needs to talk to employers. One of the things they prize is the ability of students to work in a group.

Michael

Tue, 01 May 2012 02:14:34 UTC | #938536

MsChelle's Avatar Comment 5 by MsChelle

Comment 1 by MAJORPAIN :

I have a friend who recently went back to college (in her 40s)

I am in my 40s now and tried to go back to college a decade ago. By then, of course, the dumbing down of America was in full-swing, and I got too bored with the idiocies to continue. You can even see it during on-the-job training sessions. Kids today are so in tune to TV, computers, cell phones, and the like that they practically have to be trained by Barney and Dora the Explorer just to maintain their attention. In the meantime, those of us who were taught key intellectual and creative skills and how to use them get bored and frustrated.

Tue, 01 May 2012 02:34:16 UTC | #938544

GreatWhiteShark's Avatar Comment 6 by GreatWhiteShark

I hate facebook, but we now live our lives on two levels, both the physical and the digital. Get with the times you crusty old pancakes and get social networking. Facebook constantly unpdates you with the latest hot info on peoples mundane daily events, photos of their food and not long after they leave Uni their profile pics become babies... and it all makes me sick!

But in truth 45% of students dont improve because they dont study. The high requirments once demanded by Uni's no longer exist and havent done for a while, and thank flip because otherwise I wouldnt have got in! They have facebook and a world of distracting social media, you lot had flint knapping and Dinosaurs to worry about.

Also one last rather good point, Uni's dont teach you how to write, and not all subjects teach critical thining and complex reasoning, in fact Id guess the later are usually seen in science degrees, and they are a minority. Silly article for old people.

I mean this all in a cheeky way ;)

Tue, 01 May 2012 03:10:27 UTC | #938552

MilitantNonStampCollector's Avatar Comment 7 by MilitantNonStampCollector

Comment 1 by MAJORPAIN

She told me they spend all evening, every evening except Friday and Saturday nights, glued to facebook.

Could the Facebook effect be thwarting good grammar and spelling? It seems like that at times.

Tue, 01 May 2012 03:14:38 UTC | #938555

Neodarwinian's Avatar Comment 8 by Neodarwinian

Old news. Another study showed 47% of four year graduates have learned nothing in that four year sojourn. Too many underwater basket weaving courses and mickey mouse courses not challenging today' college student. STEM is the answer! ( also it leads to good questions )

Tue, 01 May 2012 03:15:19 UTC | #938556

Agrajag's Avatar Comment 9 by Agrajag

The Chicago Tribune published THIS article yesterday. I wonder to what extent the reduction or elimination of time limits, stress or other influences has on these students by the time they get to college or beyond. At my dental school, I'm seeing more students that are given accommodations for various reasons; it's not clear to me that some of them are suited to be dentists.
Steve

Tue, 01 May 2012 03:24:45 UTC | #938558

glenister_m's Avatar Comment 10 by glenister_m

“It’s good to lead a monk’s existence [in college]," says Eric Gorski, an Associated Press writer who reported on the study. "Students who study alone and have heavier reading and writing loads do well.”

I'm not sure I agree with this statement, or what evidence there is to support it. My advice to students heading to university is "Have fun at university, just not too much."

I'm also pretty sure that studying with someone, where one person explains how to do a given problem to the other, increases the understanding of the material of both parties.

If you manage your time efficiently, you can also be involved in lots of clubs with no effect on your grades, by choosing clubs that have activities when you wouldn't normally be studying, eg. lunchtime, friday/saturday nights, etc.

Tue, 01 May 2012 05:13:27 UTC | #938572

Nerevarine's Avatar Comment 11 by Nerevarine

“It’s good to lead a monk’s existence [in college]," says Eric Gorski, an Associated Press writer who reported on the study. "Students who study alone and have heavier reading and writing loads do well.”

I think I'm a victim of this. I was one of the students who had no social life in high school / college and just studied all the time, alone. I received excellent grades, my teachers praised my dedication to my studies (I received a lot of scholarships because of it), and graduated with degrees in both computer science and mathematics.

Unfortunately, I'm learning the hard way that maybe the party-goers with mediocre grades had the right idea all along. Strong interpersonal and communication skills seem far more important than any technical skill, which is why I'm struggling to hold a job. I couldn't cut it as a computer programmer, nor as a math teacher because my "soft" skills remain woefully underdeveloped.

Tue, 01 May 2012 06:29:35 UTC | #938581

hitchens_jnr's Avatar Comment 12 by hitchens_jnr

It's possible to work your arse off AND have a huge amount of fun at college. I did. You just have to commit yourself to regular and intense sleep deprivation to find all the necessary hours.

Tue, 01 May 2012 09:21:47 UTC | #938605

Michael Gray's Avatar Comment 13 by Michael Gray

Nothing is new under Sol. (@ Approx ~400BC:)

The children now love luxury; they have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise. Children are now tyrants, not the servants of their households. They no longer rise when elders enter the room. They contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble up dainties at the table, cross their legs, and tyrannize their teachers

(Attributed to SOCRATES by Plato, according to William L. Patty and Louise S. Johnson, Personality and Adjustment, p. 277 (1953))

Tue, 01 May 2012 11:51:11 UTC | #938629

Red Dog's Avatar Comment 14 by Red Dog

Comment 2 by MsChelle :

How can they possibly expect these kids to advance more when key intellectual and creative skills such as critical thinking, complex reasoning, and writing are not focused on as much as they were in the past? Education used to be about reading, writing, and arithmetic, but now, it's just math and science. Instead of making sure that students are using English grammar and composition correctly, teachers are now giving kids credit for "creative spelling" (e.g.: syfy, gr8t. kewl, etc.). Kids aren't even being taught how to write in cursive anymore. It's become so standard to print everything, that I wouldn't be surprised if the standard signature for all eventually revert back to just being a mark (i.e.: "X") again.

My daughter is in college and I pay a good deal of attention to what she does in class. She has written many research papers for all kinds of classes and I don't recall any of them having creative spelling, let alone getting credit for them.

And as for writing in cursive I'm sorry to tell you but the world has changed. You can't do any kind of professional job without being fluent on a computer. Training kids to have great penmanship is a waste of time unless they are studying to be calligraphers.

A lot of the comments here remind me exactly of what I heard from my parents when I was a kid. "Oh these kids, when I was young..." I'm not saying there aren't some real issues. I'm dismayed at the stories my daughter tells me about how other kids in her class are on Facebook even during class. But be careful you don't turn into the old fogey you laughed at as a kid.

Tue, 01 May 2012 15:46:26 UTC | #938711

Red Dog's Avatar Comment 15 by Red Dog

Comment 4 by mmurray :

It’s good to lead a monk’s existence [in college]," says Eric Gorski, an Associated Press writer who reported on the study. "Students who study alone and have heavier reading and writing loads do well.”

This is complete rubbish. He needs to talk to employers. One of the things they prize is the ability of students to work in a group.

Michael

I agree. And at least in my daughters case there is a lot of emphasis at her school on group work. Some times its frustrating to her when she gets teamed with someone not pulling their weight but I agree its great experience for the real world.

Tue, 01 May 2012 15:47:44 UTC | #938712

Red Dog's Avatar Comment 16 by Red Dog

Comment 11 by Nerevarine :

“It’s good to lead a monk’s existence [in college]," says Eric Gorski, an Associated Press writer who reported on the study. "Students who study alone and have heavier reading and writing loads do well.”

I think I'm a victim of this. I was one of the students who had no social life in high school / college and just studied all the time, alone. I received excellent grades, my teachers praised my dedication to my studies (I received a lot of scholarships because of it), and graduated with degrees in both computer science and mathematics.

Unfortunately, I'm learning the hard way that maybe the party-goers with mediocre grades had the right idea all along. Strong interpersonal and communication skills seem far more important than any technical skill, which is why I'm struggling to hold a job. I couldn't cut it as a computer programmer, nor as a math teacher because my "soft" skills remain woefully underdeveloped.

If I were you I would stick with the CS skills rather than being a math teacher. I agree with your assessment, it is extremely important to have good human interaction skills as a software developer. But its possible if you get to be very strong technically to be one of the "back room" guys who do nothing but program. Its also not impossible to improve your social skills.

I would recommend you check out Agile Software Development. IMO it is really an amazing improvement over previous software development methodologies and I've been doing this for a living since the 80s. Its also getting to be very much in demand. Sort of like object-oriented development was back in the 80s and 90s. Not many people really get it yet and there is more demand than supply of good agile developers. Many of the leading companies in Sillicon Valley such as Google and eBay use it almost exclusively now. I recommend the book Extreme Programming Explained by Kent Beck as a starting point. I read it many years ago and it literally changed the way I approached all future development projects.

Tue, 01 May 2012 16:02:35 UTC | #938717

MsChelle's Avatar Comment 17 by MsChelle

Red Dog, do you have any children who are still in K-12, do you teach, are any of your siblings teacher? If not, then I understand why you may not yet be familiar with creative writing, but it does exist in today's schools and kids are given credit for it.

Having been an office employee for nearly 30 years, I am all too familiar with technological advancements in the workplace, but it's not about penmanship, it's about fine motor skills and spatial skills.

Due to an accident on the field hockey field, I suffered nerve damage to my left digital nerve. Without the use of cursive handwriting, I may not have ever been able to fully regain the use of my left-hand.

http://blog.childandfamilydevelopment.com/blog/sensory-integration-through-play/why-cursive-writing-is-still-important

Tue, 01 May 2012 16:08:01 UTC | #938718

meyerjac's Avatar Comment 18 by meyerjac

I am a senior at Sacramento State University in California. I had a professor who told us that he thinks the problem is that we think every kid needs to go to college - that the BA or BS is the new high school diploma. A lot of kids who have no real intellectual ambition go to college because that's what they are told they are supposed to do in order to avoid flipping burgers or cleaning toilets.

But let's not place the blame entirely on the college system. A huge part of the problem is a failure of primary education - an American institution which refuses to leave the 19th century. Primary ed is so politicized, classist and racist in America that it cannot prepare children effectively for college.

Tue, 01 May 2012 17:09:01 UTC | #938737

Benjamin Taylor's Avatar Comment 19 by Benjamin Taylor

She told me they spend all evening, every evening except Friday and Saturday nights, glued to facebook. They run in the door, go to their rooms, put their flip-flops on, come running back into the living room, flip open their lap tops and get on facebook.

This is the new college student.

Unfortunately, this reminds me of many of the students at my university.

Part of the problem seems to be that many students see university as just 'something that you do after school, but before you get a job'. They appear to have chosen their area of study based on nothing more than a vague interest, and choose their classes based on which of them require the least amount of work.

Real interest and real passion for a subject is limited, with students deciding ahead of time what degree classification they need - or think they can achieve - and then doing the minimum amount of work required to attain that grade.

Far more time is spent drinking, partying, or making costumes for the next themed party in the student bar.

I know this makes me sound like a stick-in-the-mud. But I don’t begrudge people having a good time at university - it just seems that the balance between work and play has tipped too far in the direction of ‘play’.

Tue, 01 May 2012 18:45:41 UTC | #938767

Red Dog's Avatar Comment 20 by Red Dog

Comment 17 by MsChelle :

Red Dog, do you have any children who are still in K-12, do you teach, are any of your siblings teacher? If not, then I understand why you may not yet be familiar with creative writing, but it does exist in today's schools and kids are given credit for it.

Having been an office employee for nearly 30 years, I am all too familiar with technological advancements in the workplace, but it's not about penmanship, it's about fine motor skills and spatial skills.

Due to an accident on the field hockey field, I suffered nerve damage to my left digital nerve. Without the use of cursive handwriting, I may not have ever been able to fully regain the use of my left-hand.

http://blog.childandfamilydevelopment.com/blog/sensory-integration-through-play/why-cursive-writing-is-still-important

OK. Sorry I didn't mean to malign cursive writing. I still take notes by hand in meetings and it annoys the hell out of me when people are tapping away on their phones or whatever and talking to me at the same time.

Tue, 01 May 2012 18:47:14 UTC | #938768

xsjadolateralus's Avatar Comment 21 by xsjadolateralus

Nothing wrong with educating oneself, which is after all what each person (those who attend college and those who don't) ends up doing anyway. Schools are just for people who need more structure to learn.

I was lucky enough to be able to educate myself independently and opt out of the mortgage-sized loan required for a so called "higher education". Some of my friends thought they were the lucky ones going off to hogwarts and learning magic, etc. Now they all live together in a house, because they can't afford to do anything else. They all have dead end jobs and make just enough to get by. My brother is in for about 100k, himself and just too late to be able to bankrupt and get out of jail free, as the rules have changed. :)

You might ask "Hey, what about you, you have no degree, you must really suck, right?"

Well, I'm certainly not going to gloat, but the jobs I had while they were in college paved the way for my career which I enjoy today. I also took that time to conjure up some great ideas and I'm currently prototyping what someday may be a product(s) you buy.

They all went to college thinking they would get a golden ticket for a lax, decent paying job. That was the idea for everyone, I'm sure. It just didn't turn out for half of them...

Just like religion, you can't pay someone to do your thinking for you. Not even if it works via blood sacrifice/magic voodoo/cracker nonsense. Praying to god to tell you what to do or asking god fix things won't solve a thing.

Like I said, you educate yourself one way or another. Some people needed to learn that the hard way. The mortgage size debt hard way. Just ask the 30 something guy/gal checking your groceries out at Whole Foods.

Obama payed off his student loans something like 9 years before he became president I heard?

It isn't hard for a pimp these days, it's impossible!

Tue, 01 May 2012 20:54:38 UTC | #938804

Metamag's Avatar Comment 22 by Metamag

Comment 21 by xsjadolateralus :

Nothing wrong with educating oneself, which is after all what each person (those who attend college and those who don't) ends up doing anyway. Schools are just for people who need more structure to learn.

Completely agree, I went to college/university but I kinda consider it a waste of time now because I've learned and developed far more on my own in a few short years after the college than anything college actually offered.

I would say that my high-school(heavily loaded with logic, philosophy, sociology, psychology, math and physics) experience was far more important.

But that was my fairly standard high-school in central Europe, I guess there is nothing like it for most of the Americans as far as I can tell(high schools in US seem like elementary schools to me).

Tue, 01 May 2012 21:48:27 UTC | #938813

goddogit's Avatar Comment 23 by goddogit

So, where do these copmments come from? Envy of a wasted youth? Amnesia? Pure Abe Simpson cussedness, wearing an onion in their belt?

In responding to most of the comments here denigrating the idiocy and sloth of youths, may I quote King Arthur, when the rabbit chewed off the head of Sir Bors in MP&tHG,:

"JESUS CHRIST!"

I'm officially an old fart myself now (almost 54), and yet the kids I meet (a lot of them - mostly very ordinary high school or college kids), while having similar interests and faults - exaggerated here to a degree that could have come right out of fucking Aristophanes slagging of Socrates' pupils - are certainly in not one way any worse than myself and my friends were at the same age (and we are teachers, professors, a couple of MBAs, a doctor, two lawyers, some union people, etc.).

So, while there is always a need to promote critical thinking, as there is to promote good nutrician, physical fitness, and much else, the old farts here can, as Brian said to the would-be followers in LoB, "Fuck off!"

I'm always ashamed to agree with people on so much else when they piss and moan like this.

Tue, 01 May 2012 23:31:31 UTC | #938842

Roedy's Avatar Comment 24 by Roedy

I find it so distressing when students from around the world try to hire me to write computer programs, term papers and the like for them.

I try to explain they, or their parents, have spent huge amount of money to get them educated. They are being idiots to try to subverts the profs' efforts to do that.

I also try to explain that viewed from later in life, this time at school is a luxury -- when they are able to devote full time to learning and exploration without any other responsibilities. They may never get another chance like it.

Somebody persuaded these kids that the point of school is solely the diploma. The learning that goes with it is of no importance. I ask them what are they going to do the first day on the job they got with the diploma, but is clear to one and all they have not the first clue how to proceed. I don't even try to explain the value of a general education.

Wed, 02 May 2012 00:34:16 UTC | #938868

KenChimp's Avatar Comment 25 by KenChimp

The Banksters, via Stoodnt Loanz, helped put the "Pub" in Publik Edyoukashun

While I was a struggling college student using the GI Bill funding and a full time job to pay for college, most of my peers were borrowing hand over fist, doing the minimum credit hours for full time and partying their asses off in the bars and nightclubs.

Not that I didn't get in a fair share of "adult leisure time" myself, but I didn't spend anywhere near the amount of time (and money) on such activities as the vast majority of my peers did.

This goes back to the question, "Where does college fit in the advancement of our society and our individual selves?"

The only thing I can reasonably add in an effort to help answer that question is that it was painfully obvious to me that most of my peers in college simply did NOT belong there. They were as interested in scholastic and intellectual advancement about as much as a typical four year old is interested in Brussels Sprouts. Every one of them "wanted" that piece of paper at the end of the "tour of duty", but very few of them actually understood the importance of academics beyond obtaining that degree (pedigree?).

Me? I got tired of 100+ student auditorium lectures to which my "professor" may or may not show up, coupled with being "educated" by graduate students (overwhelmed minions of tenured sea sponges), only to have the "goose gaggle" in the row behind me discussing their latest (sex)capades of the previous evening while I was attempting to master advanced calculus, and enduring their muttered complaints at the difficulty of the exams.

On one occasion, when a chortling cabal of sheep behind me refused to quiet themselves during a lecture on the history of Western Civilization, I actually turned around and asked them, "Why are you here? Don't you have a "kegger" to attend or something?" I was swaddled with smug, arrogant satisfaction when the professor told them to shut up or leave.....especially after two of them did exactly that, never to return to that class.

Wed, 02 May 2012 14:46:48 UTC | #939023

Border Collie's Avatar Comment 26 by Border Collie

What, someone is surprised?

Wed, 02 May 2012 21:00:31 UTC | #939139

xsjadolateralus's Avatar Comment 27 by xsjadolateralus

@ Comment 22 by Metamag

Yeah, didn't Einstein say that the only thing that get's in the way of his learning is his education?

Yes, our schools are awful. Even decent, well funded schools are incompetent and lack true intellectual spark and emphasis on science education. After all, science is everything, yet it's only 1/8th of what get's taught, if that.

Unfortunately, we're in a tight situation now. We have so many people dependent on a system no longer valid today. Think of how we ship kids like sardines in big gas-guzzling buses, transport them to a huge central facility, all the costs that go along with said facility, etc.

It's insane that we haven't merged education with the greatest tool capable of educating, while eliminating the need to transport children like US mail every day. Not to mention the children that get driven to school and the waste involved in transporting a single 50lb child 10+ miles, no doubt in a trailblazer, or otherwise typical oversized SUV. Multiply that by hundreds of millions.

We are in trouble if we don't address this obvious failure to recognize an obviously flawed educational system.

We won't pay the teachers, build the educational foundations, etc. but I know for a fact that we'll pay the software engineers to build a foolproof online education for children P-12th grade. THEN, when it's important to actually work in the field relevant to your education, universities MAKE SENSE. WHY? Because you are MOVING to a university to live. You don't need to be transported via yellow moving canister twice a day.

"BBBB-BUT children won't get the social interactions that they need ever so badly.."

BUT THEY WILL! If they don't have to be shipped off for the day, they can easily focus on their academics. If anything, the entire process of leaving the house disrupts the child's focus and hinders their ability to properly concentrate on their education.

Who did enjoy getting out of bed at 6am, or sooner and hoping on a stinky bus for 30+ mins, sitting in uncomfortable, dirty chairs, listening to some bald fat guy barely pay attention to what he's attempting to impart to you? Then take the stinky bus home, stopping for every child, an hour later you're home in enough time to watch the TV shows targeted to you and fall asleep, hoping tomorrow school will be canceled...

It doesn't take a genius to point out the flaws, it also doesn't take a genius to admit them and honestly and courageously move in a direction, different from the direction taken when the flaws were cast.

Wed, 02 May 2012 21:41:52 UTC | #939155

xsjadolateralus's Avatar Comment 28 by xsjadolateralus

My point about children getting just as much, if not much more interaction is that they would finish their studies and go off to play with neighborhood kids, which is always a much more natural experience, because you aren't in a structured, prison-like experience.

Think of how much our schools resemble prisons, FFS we even have a yard and recess. A school works the same as a prison in a great many ways. That environment doesn't breed intellectualism, it breeds group think, social strata and readiness to meet the market. It has very little to do with education.

Wed, 02 May 2012 21:48:49 UTC | #939158