Academically Adrift

Academically Adrift Cover

Academically Adrift

Limited Learning on College Campuses

By Richard Arum; Josipa Roksa

University of Chicago Press, Paperback, 9780226028569, 259pp.

Publication Date: January 15, 2011

Description

In spite of soaring tuition costs, more and more students go to college every year. A bachelor's degree is now required for entry into a growing number of professions. And some parents begin planning for the expense of sending their kids to college when they re born. Almost everyone strives to go, but almost no one asks the fundamental question posed by "Academically Adrift" are undergraduates really learning anything once they get there?
For a large proportion of students, Richard Arum and Josipa Roksa's answer to that question is a definitive no. Their extensive research draws on survey responses, transcript data, and, for the first time, the state-of-the-art Collegiate Learning Assessment, a standardized test administered to students in their first semester and then again at the end of their second year. According to their analysis of more than 2,300 undergraduates at twenty-four institutions, 45 percent of these students demonstrate no significant improvement in a range of skills including critical thinking, complex reasoning, and writing during their first two years of college. As troubling as their findings are, Arum and Roksa argue that for many faculty and administrators they will come as no surprise instead, they are the expected result of a student body distracted by socializing or working and an institutional culture that puts undergraduate learning close to the bottom of the priority list.
"
Academically Adrift" holds sobering lessons for students, faculty, administrators, policy makers, and parents all of whom are implicated in promoting or at least ignoring contemporary campus culture. Higher education faces crises on a number of fronts, but Arum and Roksa's report that colleges are failing at their most basic mission will demand the attention of us all.



About the Author
Richard Arum has recently served as Professor of Sociology and Education at New York University; Program Director of Education Research at the Social Science Research Council; and Senior Fellow at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. His past work with various co-authors includes Aspiring Adults Adrift: Tentative Transitions of College Graduates (University of Chicago Press, 2014); Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses (University of Chicago Press, 2011); Judging School Discipline: The Crisis of Moral Authority (Harvard University Press, 2003); Stratification in Higher Education: A Comparative Study (Stanford University Press, 2007); and Improving Learning Environments: School Discipline and Student Achievement in Comparative Perspective (Stanford University Press, 2012).