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Thread: Cheating the college students

  1. #1
    Elite Member JamieElizabeth's Avatar
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    Default Cheating the college students


    By Cal Thomas

    Tribune Media Services

    "If you can read this, thank a teacher," says the bumper sticker on the
    car in front of me. But literacy is more than the ability to read a
    bumper sticker. It also includes the accumulation of basic knowledge
    combined with a way of thinking that allows an individual to lead a life
    that is personally productive and contributes to America's health and

    For the second year in a row, America's elite universities and colleges
    have failed to rise above a "D plus" on tests of basic knowledge about
    civics and American history, maintains a study commissioned by the
    Intercollegiate Studies Institute's (ISI). In 2005, ISI contracted with
    the University of Connecticut's Department of Public Policy (UConnDPP)
    to administer tests of basic historical and civic knowledge to 14,000
    students at 50 top schools, including Yale, Harvard, Cornell, the
    University of Virginia, Brown and Duke. The survey found that students
    "were no better off than when they arrived in terms of acquiring the
    knowledge necessary for informed engagement in a democratic republic and
    global economy." Since an education at top colleges can cost as much as
    $40,000 a year, it would appear that those paying the bill are being

    ISI's final report entitled "The Coming Crisis in Citizenship: Higher
    Education's Failure to Teach America's History and Institutions,"
    presented four pivotal findings:

    1. The average college senior knows very little about America's history,
    government, international relations and market economy. Their average
    score on the civic literacy test was 53.2 percent. "No class of seniors
    scored higher than 69 percent, or D plus."

    2. Prestige doesn't pay off. "An Ivy League education contributes
    nothing to a student's civic learning. ... There is no relationship
    between the cost of attending college and the mastery of America's
    history, politics, and economy."

    3. Students don't learn what colleges don't teach. "Schools where
    students took or were required to take more courses related to America's
    history and institutions," says the ISI, "outperformed those schools
    where fewer courses were completed. The absence of required courses in
    American history, political science, philosophy and economics suggests a
    negative impact on students' civic literacy."

    America's most prestigious colleges had the worst scores. Many of the
    schools that typically rank the highest in popularity score among the
    lowest in advancing civic knowledge. Generally, the ISI study found, the
    higher the ranking by U.S. News and World Report in its annual survey of
    institutions of higher education, the lower the rank in civic learning.
    "Even when controlling for numerous variables that influence learning,
    seniors at schools with reasonably strong core curricula - for example,
    Rhodes, Calvin and Wheaton - had double the gain in civic learning
    compared with those seniors at schools without a coherent core
    curriculum - for example, Brown, Cornell and Stanford."

    4. Greater civic learning goes hand-in-hand with more active
    citizenship. "Students who demonstrated greater learning of America's
    history and its institutions were more engaged in citizenship activities
    such as voting, volunteer community service and political campaigns."
    The study found that "86 percent of the students at the four
    highest-ranked colleges had exercised their right to vote at least once.
    At Colorado State, ranked second overall, 90 percent of seniors had
    voted at least once. ... Higher civic learning and greater civic
    involvement are closely associated."

    Here are three of the test questions. Even partially informed people who
    believe American history is a better teacher than fascination and
    fixation on the latest news about Britney Spears and O.J. Simpson ought
    to be able to answer them correctly. The entire 60 multiple-choice
    questions can be found on ISI's Web site, Intercollegiate Studies Institute.

    1. Which battle brought the American Revolution to an end: (a) Saratoga
    (b) Gettysburg (c) the Alamo (d) Yorktown (e) New Orleans?

    2. The Gulf of Tonkin Resolution (1964) was significant because it: (a)
    ended the war in Korea (b) Gave President Johnson the authority to
    expand the scope of the Vietnam War (c) Was an attempt to take foreign
    policy power away from the president (d) Allowed China to become a
    member of the United Nations (e) Allowed for oil exploration in
    Southeast Asia.

    3. Which of the following is the best measure of production or output of
    an economy (a) Gross Domestic Product (b) Consumer Price Index (c)
    Unemployment rate (d) Prime Rate (e) Exchange rate?

    Everyone should take the test. No cheating and no, I'm not going to give
    you the answers. If you're interested enough to read this column, you
    ought to be smart enough to know them. If not, then you paid too much
    college tuition, or didn't take college seriously enough to get a real

    In 1777, John Adams wrote to his son about the importance of education.
    He said it was necessary to teach the next generation about America's
    founding principles in order to preserve the freedom and independence so
    many of his fellow countrymen sacrificed to achieve. Only when we know
    and embrace those principles can we pass on to a new generation that
    which we inherited from the past. The ISI study reveals severe cracks in
    that foundation, which need immediate attention and repair.

    (Direct all MAIL for Cal Thomas to: Tribune Media Services, 2225 Kenmore
    Ave., Suite 114, Buffalo, N.Y. 14207. Readers may also e-mail Cal Thomas

  2. #2
    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    I've always said that universities these days just churn out careerist mindset drones.. they don't seem to be for higher learning or expanding the mind beyond what can earn you a fat paycheck.
    I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.

  3. #3
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    I did horrivbly in school. Like D minus/F average, so I can't talk. Lol.

  4. #4
    Elite Member Mr. Authority's Avatar
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    Alot of factors run into the problem with college and it's students. I'll try to explain as best as I can:

    1.High School- Not every HS has the top structure of education. Sure there's the nice well-kept HS in the burbs, but in most inner cities the schools are hell. Underfunded, crowded, violent, and overall a mess. Even in the "nice" HS you have students that don't give a crap about learning anything. Sports and prom seem to be more hyped than learning about civics and US history.

    2. Small Scam Colleges/College Chains- Then you have these small-scale "colleges" that claim you can learn something in like a year. First off most of these kinds of colleges are a scam and are;nt worth anything. Places like DeVry and the like just don't seem credible to me, same with NIT (or whatever it's called now). Places like these don't seem interested in teaching the college basics like History and Social education on our nation.

    3. Tuition/Fiancial Aid/ Student Loans- Kind of ties in with cheating college students. Except this problem cheats them out of money. IMO College should be free and to all classes of people. IT's BS that tuition keeps rising and more students are in debt (hell I'm in debt from this shit) and yet were pushing kids to go get loans and crap. College is not a business that should be making profit, it should be a insitution that creates people to go into their careers and make something of themselves.

    Like Grimm said, college seems to be churning out drones instead of people that are well-rounded and know what field they want to go in. It's sad to our students having these problems with basic educational values and needs.

  5. #5
    Elite Member Laxmobster's Avatar
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    I believe college is meant for people to specify their career studies and to define a path for themselves, not get an overall education. I took Civics in 8th grade and learned much about American history in High School. That's where I think we need to focus our attention. People go to college to learn specific subjects, ie study medicine, engineering, botany, chemistry, forestry, history(like myself), etc...

    College is not meant to learn everything about America and the small bs we were supposed to be taught in grade and high school. I don't consider myself a drone, just the opposite actually. College taught me to be a free-thinker and challenge everything I don't agree with. I believe high school thrives off the drone mentality where each student is taught the same classes, same schedule, same ideas. In college, we the students choose our curriculum. Where it ranges from theater to molecular biology. I took so many different classes and really gained a respect and understanding of the world I live in.
    Quote Originally Posted by Celestial View Post
    I also choose to believe the rumors because I am, when it is all said and done, a dirty gossip.

  6. #6
    Elite Member Mr. Authority's Avatar
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    I see what you're saying Lax and I partly agree with you. But I've still think College is'nt doing it's job for students to go into a field with the right mindset and education. Again it's running like a business and pushing out these kids to become corporate drones to pay off that student loan and debt.

  7. #7
    Hit By Ban Bus! pacific breeze's Avatar
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    I couldn't disagree more that college is a job factory. Polytechnical schools train people for specific jobs, colleges or universities give an overall education with a focus in one or two areas. They are NOT intended and never have been intended to guarantee someone a job upon graduation. However, the stats have been clear for years: college grads earn vastly more over their lifetimes than those without degrees. Of course there are exceptions, but in general that is true.

    As a post-secondary teacher I find it very depressing when students say things like, "I'm paying a lot of money and I expect a good mark," which has happened to every teacher I know. Critical thinking skills, reading a wide range of materials, the sheer joy of learning and being in a collegiate environment are things that you can't put a price on. Yes, students are consumers and unfortunately, a lot of schools are treating them that way to the detriment of their education. I could go on and on about this but it's just too depressing, frankly.

  8. #8
    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    The only way I felt like a consumer was when i payed a hefty chunk of money and the teacher wasn't teaching anything. That pissed me off.
    I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.

  9. #9
    Super Moderator Tati's Avatar
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    I couldn't disagree more that college is a job factory. Polytechnical schools train people for specific jobs, colleges or universities give an overall education with a focus in one or two areas.
    I agree with this 100%. I've attended three different universities now (transfer credits between them), and I've always found it a rich, well-rounded environment where critical thinking was highly valued and encouraged. It's just the complete opposite of a job factory in my experience, and I just... I can't even imagine it any other way. None of my professors care if I get a job, and why would they? They teach highly specialized subjects like Post-Colonial Writing twice a week, how and why would they be pushing for us to get jobs? LOL! They care that we appreciate the material; most of them have no agenda beyond that, and certainly no agenda to push us into the workforce.

    As for the focus and scope, it's really what you make it. There are thousands of courses at my school for me to choose from, and no, I don't happen to be taking any Canadian history or "civics" courses. There's too much else I want to take, and I took a lot of extra courses in those areas in high school. That's the kind of stuff that can be learned by picking up a book in my opinion - it doesn't take critical analysis skills to memorize some dates and names. My education is quite broad - two majors and a minor - and there are still myriad classes I'd love to take but can't fit in my schedule! But even if you were only focusing on one subject, there is still a lot of breadth there - for just one of my programs I'll be taking courses from English, Geography, Poli Sci, Art History, History, French and Sociology.

    Something like Engineering, mind you, is considerably more focused. My husband had only a handful of electives his entire university career, though he definitely got a broad engineering education. But I don't think the schools really have much choice there - there are a number of things you need to know to be an engineer (physicist, doctor, botanist, etc.) and only so many courses you can take in four years. I suppose that is fairly career-focused, but then, maybe some things should be? We do need botanists, and they do need to study their field thoroughly. Where else would they learn? I think we need to accept that there are highly specialized, practical fields, and there are more liberal arts fields, and both happen to be taught at university. But again, you're always free to do a double major, a minor, or graduate studies.
    If you reveal your secrets to the wind you should not blame the wind for revealing them to the trees.

    - Kahlil Gibran

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