The Association of Governing Boards concluded its annual meeting in Washington D.C. today and I had an opportunity to attend and listen to one of the more interesting presentations on its agenda. Richard Arum, a professor of New York University, one of the co-authors of a new study entitled, Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses, presented his findings. In short, the results of his research show a serious decline in academic rigor. More than one-third of students showed no improvement in critical thinking skills after four years of college with 35% of students reporting studying five hours less per week and 50% said they didn’t have a single course that required 20 pages of writing in their previous semester.
This study cannot be ignored and should serve as a starting point for a discussion on academic rigor at Boise State. In the meantime, take a look at Arum’s book for a full account of the study.