That research finds that after two years of college, 45% of students have learned essentially nothing, while getting good grades--grades have become overinflated into meaninglessness.
Students' lack of growth is not surprising in that:
- Professors are hired and promoted based largely on their research not teaching. As you may recall from your own college experience, a professor needn't even speak comprehensible English let alone be an effective, not to mention transformative teacher.
- Except for roughly 100 of the nation's 3,500, colleges are little more than 98.6 schools--all you need to get through is normal body temperature. And professors having to teach a class with brilliant students sitting alongside the semi-literate would be a Herculean challenge even for professors hired based on how well they teach rather than on how likely they are to get an article on Wittgenstein's hermeneutics published in the Journal of Arcana.
- Most universities educate in the cheapest way possible: maximum number of classes in large lecture halls, on TV, or online, taught as often as possible by graduate students or even undergraduate students rather than by professors.
Is it not time, as I've repeatedly argued, for a College Report Card, which among other things, reports each college's average freshman-to-senior growth in reading, writing, critical thinking, and quantitative reasoning skills, disaggregated by the students' high school record?
Otherwise, millions of prospective students have only the flimsiest basis for deciding whether a particular college, indeed any college, is worth spending a fortune and years of their life compared with self- or mentor-guided independent study, a short-term career prep program at a community college, an apprenticeship, the military, on-the-job training, or starting their own business.