Sunday, October 2, 2011

Academically Adrift

"Missing from the conversation is the quality of what’s being taught." (Kathleen Parker.)

●Gains in critical thinking, complex reasoning and writing skills are either “exceedingly small or nonexistent for a larger proportion of students.”

●Thirty-six percent of students experience no significant improvement in learning (as measured by the Collegiate Learning Assessment) over four years of higher education.

'That group adds that "Academically Adrift" confirms their own findings, and that when combined with our 47 million high school dropouts and the fact that 40% of entering college students cannot read, write, or compute at a college-ready level makes our overall education outputs even dimmer - despite world-leading per-pupil expenditure levels." (From comments.)

"Students in education, communications, and business had the lowest measurable gains." (Richard Arum Letter, .pdf.)

Hey, it's not just me.


shoreacres said...

I just found this, in your comment at Sippican's: "In order to achieve excellence, it is necessary to do..."

Just now I happen to be surrounded by folks who prefer to think otherwise - cruisers who talk about where they'll go "someday", writers who never write but publicize their ideas on Facebook, and so on and so forth.

It's nice to find such a clear and straightforward affirmation of something I believe, on such a cool and pleasant Sunday evening. It made me feel good, as though I'm on the right road, so I thought I'd say so.

Ten Mile Island said...

Not to put a too fine point on it, my statement was, "To achieve excellence, it is necessary to do." The ellipsis suggests that there was more to the statement, and for the folks who visit here, but don't join me in my Sippican time, it's an important distinction. (BTW-your website is beautiful, thanks for the visit--you're classing it up here!)

For those of you who know me, whether family or friend, you know that I've held that the least favourite words anyone can ever speak to me are, "you know what you should do?" Suggesting, that I should change my platform of expression and adopt their creative ideas. I have a real life, and a real business and real clients, and I appreciate that folks who see, hear or experience my work are willing to share their ideas of how I should run my business, but really, when I adopt a practise in my business, it is with the commitment that once adopted, it will always be a part of what it is I do. Business models are like that. Either do, or don't do.

Yoda was right. There is no try.

I think it was Drucker who taught me the difference. Creativity is fine, but creative people don't do anything. Innovation lies in doing.

Now, to let you down. I've started several works; not essays. I found out, in upper division and post-bac, that I can write an essay well. At least, with enough clarity to be understood, and with enough correctness to be graded well. After some thirty years in marketing, I think I can do as well in thirty seconds--or sixty seconds--as can any other man or woman. Short, terse, robust and elegant. I live my life in sixty-second bursts.

So thank you for your visit. And thank you for your page on "The Reason I am Here."

I think you're much better equipped to write something meatier than a simple essay. I hope you do.

ZZMike said...

"I found out, in upper division and post-bac, that I can write an essay well. "

Anybody who's been following TMI knows this to be true.

"I live my life in sixty-second bursts."

Well, except for those essays. That's not a criticism. Sometimes shorter is better; sometimes not. We live in a world in which "shorter" turns into the "30-second sound bite", which captures some of the flavor (perhaps) and none of the content.

Somebody apologized for sending his friend a long letter, saying "if I had more time I could have made it shorter". I thought about that the other day, and decided that if I had even more time, I could shorten something down to nothing at all. So Zen.

For "The Task at Hand" ("The Reason I am Here"):

"Implicit in his remarks is a refutation of the easy assumption that people write essays because they are less difficult than novels. "

I think most good writers will tell you that the short story is harder to write than the novel.

I look forward to reading more at The Task at Hand.