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January 19th, 2011
09:55 AM ET

Study: students show 'no significant gains' after first two years of college

After many thousands of dollars spent and two years on campus, college students show 'no significant gains' in learning by the end of their sophomore year, a study released today reports.

The study was conducted by two college professors, one from New York University and one from the University of Virginia, and looked at 2,300 undergraduate students from two-dozen U.S. colleges. Results showed forty-five percent of students "demonstrated no significant gains in critical thinking, analytical reasoning, and written communications during the first two years of college." Findings were based on an essay-based standardized test that required critical reading and analysis.

One of the professors who conducted the study, Dr. Richard Arum of New York University, says the burden of responsibility falls on professors and administrators as well as on students. Dr. Arum discusses the study's findings and his new book "Academically Adrift" with American Morning's Kiran Chetry and T.J. Holmes.

Filed under: American Morning • Education
soundoff (3 Responses)
  1. Doe

    Shouldn't surprise, most college kids are drunk most of the time during the first two years of college (part of the learning how to manage your own day process). What would be more interesting is whether they experience significant gains in their final two years of college when they finally get their act together.

    January 20, 2011 at 11:18 am |
  2. John

    To Mr. Spennato:

    As much as I want to thank you for your defense, as a recent graduate I gotta admit we all just got drunk a lot the first two years. That might explain it better.

    Not that it means anything. If you graduate 4 years later, same as you came in, then that's your own fault and more likely than not you will pay for it for the rest of your life.

    January 20, 2011 at 12:25 am |
  3. Robert Spennato

    This study shows absolutely nothing. Even if it is true that 'most students demonstrated no significant gains in critical thinking, analytical reasoning, and written communications,' that does not mean that a lot more isn't gained by going to school in these very years. Learning how to manage your day on your own with the increase in responsibilities is most likely the most valuable skill you develop in these two years. It teaches you how to be an adult and to take care of yourself and still manage to be productive. Everyone knows that the core requirements and elective classes are not going to help you nearly as much as the major classes you take that are actually in your field of study. But thanks for the wasted money and time on this useless study that doesn't change my opinion on anything.

    January 19, 2011 at 4:41 pm |