Excelsior?

We heard recently that 36% of university students “did not demonstrate any significant improvement in learning” upon graduation, although they may have bettered their Xbox skills, social lives, and tolerance to alcohol. Physics professor Chad Orzel isn’t surprised by this number, saying it “seems consistent with my experiences both as a student and as a faculty member.” According to Chad, laziness is just human nature, and there are other important (if not academic) lessons that college provides. The new statistics, drawn from a book called Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses, also jibe with professor Ethan Siegel’s experience. But while the book’s authors blame underachievement on a lack of rigor in college curriculum, Ethan says “a quarter to a third of students in college aren’t intrinsically motivated to be there.” The solution, he says, is to make sure students are pursuing their passion, even if it’s in a garage rather than a lecture hall.

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