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  • The Grades Are In: Only 2% of Colleges get an "A"

    Harvard College

    Across the country, college students are starting classes, but that does not mean they are receiving an education.

    The American Council for Trustees and Alumni’s latest report and website What Will They Learn reveals that most colleges and universities are not providing students a well-rounded education. Of the 719 colleges and universities analyzed in this report, only 16 institutions of higher education (that is, 2% of colleges) provide a coherent, content-rich general education or core curriculum. These few “A” rated  schools require students to take courses in composition, literature, a foreign language, U.S. government or history, economics, mathematics, and natural or physical science. The course most ignored in core curriculum is the US government/history requirement: only 19% of the 700 require it (compared to science, which 85% of colleges require).

    Just because a college is expensive or elite, does not mean that a content-rich education is available. Of the 178 colleges who charge more than $30,000, only two colleges receive an “A.” In contrast, the average cost of an “A” ranked school is $16,000. And, interestingly, six of the highest ranked schools are located not in the Northeast but in Texas.

    As What Will They Learn describes, a coherent, content-rich core curriculum is not achieved by simply amassing 120 credit hours over eight semesters. A core curriculum exposes students to subjects they might otherwise avoid and builds the analytical and critical-thinking skills that are essential to being an educated person. Moreover, a good core curriculum fosters an “intellectual community in which students share the focus and excitement of discovery and learning.” Beyond the university, an education founded upon a solid core curriculum better prepares young men and women for the ever-changing challenges and needs of the modern workforce.

    Before enrolling in “Amphibious Warfare” or “Philosophy and History of Recreation,” check out the benefits of a core curriculum. And for the 81% of current students who lack a good education in U.S. government or history, may I recommend a book or two?

    Posted in First Principles [slideshow_deploy]

    5 Responses to The Grades Are In: Only 2% of Colleges get an "A"

    1. Rachel, Auburn, WA says:

      I just recently graduated from the University of Washington (which has an F grade) and I still feel like there is so much more I could learn. Unfortunately, the UW (and I feel many other universities) have begun to care less about the student's education and only care about making money. UW has so many set rules that professors have to follow for teaching the classes and most of them do not help at all. The only good professors I've had are the ones that have thrown the rule book out the window and taught their own way. I took economics and language classes only because I felt I should in order to be educated. And again, unfortunately, if one is a conservative (or even moderate), you will get chastised by the professor and other students. I know so many students who are moderate or conservative but pretend to be liberal in order to get a good grade. Our colleges and universities are in a really bad state and are being run into the ground. It sure is a sad sight.

    2. Billie says:

      It's the final brainwash before they go out into the world…

    3. Jamie Friedland, DC says:

      I too am a proponent of a LIBERAL arts education (which I think it is funny you are advocating for but cannot actually call by name), but let's not get carried away here. Yes, if high school curricula in U.S. government and history are lacking, college students should take these courses. Yet you cannot just come out and say that because many schools do not explicitly require students to get a fully rounded education (many still do) that they are not learning at all. I didn't take a U.S. history class but I still got an education.

      Furthermore, if schools are getting "low grades" on that list because their students are focusing on their future professions, that's not such a terrible thing. Again, I support a broad curriculum, but for example I have friends pursuing careers in computer science who took a remarkably intensive set of compsci courses. They didn't learn French, but you cannot possibly say that they did not receive an education.

      Regardless of your views on a proper college curriculum, there is a difference between specialization and not learning. An analogous argument to that you've made above is that Tiger Woods did not receive good athletic training because he can't also play football, baseball and iceskate too. So let's walk back the rhetoric a bit.

      And for the record, not once did I come across a professor who treated a student differently for his/her political preferences in any way.

    4. Joe Pantella, Wellsb says:

      I am an instructor at a college, and I can unequivocally say the there are professors who give good grades to students who advance the professors standing in school politics.

      Sorry to give you the bad news, but check on Rate Your Professor.com and see for yourself.

      I have had as many as 14 students in my office telling me about the problem, but the education money machine has my hands tied.

      In most cases the students only care about the grade. Honesty and truth are not a part of the picture where this situation exists.

      Also, for those who commented on this thread, you only know what you were taught, not what you should have been taught. Therefore, how can you know the difference between a good education or a poor education. I would have to ask, are you employed in your chosen major?

      We are building diploma clicks within our own society that have paper and lack the skills; all for the sake of money. The campus may be beautiful but the school lacks integrity.

    5. Billie says:

      my education was in private school, my children's are in public. I have direct knowledge and experience in both I know a good educator, uninfluenced by government when I read about or talk to them.

      Curriculum should especially be basic in America, especially when there are new people unfamiliar to the history and civil society in America. There is a great education gap and a disappointing contrast in basic curriculum and behavioral acceptance. Extra curriculum offered in high school, aids to motivate the students interests to carry them into college. Extra curriculum should be offered according to public school standards.

      The students should make their own decisions after they've completed and graduate from high school, College education is no place to pick up where the student failed. Okay with refresher courses and there is a difference.

      Why honor a privilege without achieving the goal? A teacher can give a student any grade they want now a days.

      Have some human dignity and allow others the same!

      No exception. MERIT MATTERS!

      My Lord! And you call yourselves educators?

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