After paying thousands of dollars each year for tuition, post-secondary students expect to get the best out their education.
According to a recently published book called Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses, however, students aren’t really getting a good value for their money.
The results of the study, conducted by New York University’s Richard Arum and University of Virginia’s Jospia Roksa, revealed that many students do not gain much knowledge, and that those that do retain less than average, according to USA Today.
The study explains that out of a sample of 3,000 full-time students, 51 percent spent most of their time on campus socializing, and only 16 percent attending classes and studying.
Authors evaluated American students and the core thinking skills they gained over the first two years of university. Scores were then compared two years later when the students graduated.
Arum and Raksa claim that many of the results in the report point to students who choose “easy” courses, yet disregard studying and end up doing poorly.
“I have taken bird courses, but I didn’t know that they were. They just sounded like courses I liked, so I took them. I’ve never intentionally taken a course because it was easy,” said Jacob Wylde, a third- year kinesiology student at York.
“It’s hard to actually learn stuff and still remember it later on in university. You take so many courses, and once you finish learning the material in one course, you move on to the next and forget about what you learned previously.”
The research also showed that modern day students are spending 50 percent less time studying in comparison to students a couple of decades ago.
Arum and Roksa also pointed to colleges where researching is valued over teaching. The study noted that the students most likely to learn and succeed studied harder, read and wrote more and majored in “traditional” art and science fields.
The study also revealed 45 percent of students showed no significant improvement in critical thinking skills and complex reasoning by the end of their second year.