Friday, May 26, 2017

Who is most “academically adrift” – and why?

Seven years ago, sociologists-turned-education-experts Richard Arum and Josipa Roksa published a book (under the same name) in which they made a startling argument. Unveiling a study involving 2,300 American students, they claimed they had observed very “limited learning on college campuses.” A majority of students were allegedly showing no or negligible improvement in their thinking after 4 years of higher learning. Arum’s and Roksa’s methods and conclusions attracted much flak from more optimistic experts and observers. There was one curious assertion, however, which almost got lost in the whole debate. Arum and Roksa had found that students majoring in business administration and education were making the least progress of all. To the extent that their data can be trusted, what could be a plausible explanation for this curious finding? I offer a counterintuitive explanation in my new book, Mental Penguins: The Neverending Education Crisis and the False Promise of the Information Age. And in the full version of this post on another, learning-focused blog I have started at