This is bad news. Very bad news, indeed, for those of us depending on the current generation of college students to be emptying our bedpans in the nursing home in a couple decades.
An alarming USA Today article lends credence to the very real idea that most college-age kids are ill prepared for the real world—because universities, plain and simple, have forgotten to make academics a priority.
In addition, a new report from Inside Higher Ed reveals that fear of letting our precious young 'uns fail has reached such proportions that 43% of all grades at four-year colleges & universities are A's, and 29% are B's. A mere 8% of student are ever given a D or F. Since 1960, students average higher grades of 28 damn points.
The Teachers College Record writes, "America’s institutions of higher learning created fiction that excellence was common and failure was virtually nonexistent. When college students perceive that the average grade in a class will be an A, they do not try to excel."
Meanwhile, the USA Today story reports that 45% of the nation's undergraduates show almost no gains in learning in the first two years of college, and after four years, 36% haven't learned shit. Instead, students are more tuned in to their social lives and sleeping (see graph), which is sanctioned by the academic culture.
Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses also found that students spent 50% less time studying compared with students a few decades ago. The author and NYU professor Richard Arum, notes, "Students are able to navigate through the system quite well with little effort."
The study also found that 35% of students spend five or fewer hours per week studying alone; 50% never took a class where they wrote more than 20 pages; and 32% never took a course where they read more than 40 pages per week.
I'm going to guess that this blog post, for many college students, would represent the length and depth of a graduate thesis. Now what? I fear that when I'm whiling away my golden years at Shady Pines, the thermometer will end up in my mouth, while the Jello goes up my behind.