Saturday, September 15, 2012

Chronicle: Today's Students - Same as Always, But More So

In the Chronicle of Higher Education, Arthur Levine and Diane Dean explore what concerns current undergraduate students in postsecondary education and how they differ from previous generations. Their research also analyzes how social, economic, and technological factors have shaped their worldview.
What is familiar is that current undergraduates are little involved in campus life, disenchanted with politics and government, more issue-oriented than ideological, engaged in community service, utilitarian in their goals for college, weak academically, frequenters of psychological-counseling services, eager consumers, and partial to sex and alcohol. Just more so, in each category, than their predecessors.

What is different is that there are stark contradictions between student beliefs and the realities of their lives; a gulf between their dreams and the diminished conditions of the world in which they live. Consider this:

  1. Most college students (89 percent) say they are optimistic about their personal futures but pessimistic about the future of the country (65 percent).
  2. Three out of four undergraduates expect to be at least as well off as their parents, but four out of five do not expect Social Security to be available when they retire.
  3. Current undergraduates have the most inflated grades in 40 years, but a majority (60 percent) believe their grades understate their academic ability, even though nearly half (45 percent) have had to take remedial courses.
  4. Undergraduates want change, but they are timid rule followers.
  5. Today's students are simultaneously the most connected and disconnected generation in collegiate history.

No comments: