By Thomas K. Lindsay

The higher-education world was rocked three years ago by the publication of the landmark study of collegiate learning, Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses by Richard Arum and Josipa Roksa. Between 2005 and 2009, the authors tracked over 2,000 college students from both public and private institutions, measuring their fundamental academic skills in their first and fourth years with the Collegiate Learning Assessment (CLA). Their alarming findings: After four years invested in college, 36 percent of students demonstrate “small or empirically non-existent” gains in critical thinking, complex reasoning and writing skills.

Were more proof needed, the Wabash National Study of Liberal Arts Education conducted aparallel survey using a comparable testing instrument and found virtually the same results. Having taught undergraduates at several institutions, public and private, over the past 20 years, I needed no corroboration. From my experience, I have long suspected what Adrift and the Wabash Study confirm. It’s hard for me to believe that my fellow academics don’t also know this in their bones. CONTINUE READING HERE