The Typical Undergraduate Takes More Than 5 Years to Graduate

The average undergraduate takes between five and six years to complete a degree, according to a new report by the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center. The average bachelor’s-degree candidate takes just over five years to graduate.

The findings of the report, which pulled data from 3,600 postsecondary institutions across the country, fly in the face of much of the popular perception of college-enrollment patterns, Doug Shapiro, executive director of the research center, said in a news release.

“These nontraditional behaviors have a dramatic effect on time to degree,” he said. “Each additional term or semester has the potential to increase the cost to the student, both through forgone earnings and additional tuition expenses.”

A photo by Thanun Buranapong. unsplash.com/photos/JbeBraLha7URead the full article at The Chronicle of Higher Ed

Chinese university allows students to pick age of lecturers

A university in China is letting students choose the age and personality of their lecturers, according to local reports.
Students at the metallurgy and chemical engineering department of Jiangxi University of Science and Technology said that they preferred academics aged between 25 and 40 years old, and those who have a “funny” and “positive” attitude, according to the China Daily.
As a result, the university, which is based in the city of Ganzhou in south-eastern China, has assigned a group of young lecturers to teach the cohort.

Grade expectations: An “A” is not what it used to be

“WE DO not release statistics on grade-point averages so we can’t speak to the accuracy of the information you have.” That was a flack for Yale, but other Ivy League colleges—with the partial exception of Princeton—were equally reluctant to discuss their grading practices with the Economist.

Are they trying to hide something? Perhaps. Stuart Rojstaczer, a critic of grade inflation, has estimated average grades over time by combining dozens of unofficial and official sources. The results are startling (see chart). In 1950, Mr Rojstaczer estimates, Harvard’s average grade was a C-plus. An article from 2013 in the Harvard Crimson, a student newspaper, revealed that the median grade had soared to A-minus: the most commonly awarded grade is an A. The students may be much cleverer than before: the Ivies are no longer gentlemen’s clubs for rich knuckleheads. But most probably, their marks mean less.

Universities pump up grades because many students like it. Administrators claim that tough grading leads to rivalry and stress for students. But if that is true, why have grades at all? Brilliant students complain that, thanks to grade inflation, little distinguishes them from their so-so classmates. Employers agree. When so many students get As, it is hard to figure out who is clever and who is not.

Read the full article at The Economist (US)

$1 Million Of Frugal Librarian’s Bequest To N.H. School Goes To Football Scoreboard

News that late librarian Robert Morin left the University of New Hampshire $4 million has been hailed as a symbol of Morin’s dedication and generosity. But the school’s decision to spend $1 million of that money on a new video scoreboard for the football stadium is being criticized.

A life lived in frugality, spent frivolously” on a million-dollar scoreboard, one commenter wrote on a local newspaper site, calling the decision “an assault” on Morin’s life. Others say it’s simply a shame that more of the money didn’t go to the university’s Dimond Library, where Morin spent much of his life.

Read the full article at NPR.org

Why It’s Time to Disrupt Higher Education by Separating Learning From Credentialing

Across modern economies, innovators and entrepreneurs are marshaling the power of information technology to reorganize business processes and reimagine entire industries, thereby improving quality and lowering the costs of goods and services. But higher education has largely escaped such disruption, even as IT and the Internet have created new ways to research, learn, and impart knowledge. The reason is that colleges and universities hold a unique franchise: They are responsible for educating students and for granting them degrees. Schools thus lack incentive to help students learn outside the classroom, even if it would lower costs or be more effective, since it would cut into their revenue, and they lack incentive to raise standards for their degrees because it would drive away customers. Students meanwhile have little incentive to push themselves harder than necessary to earn their degrees, since degrees are opaque, deriving their value from institutional brands rather than clear measures of academic achievement. This paper argues that the federal government should spur reform by promoting alternatives to traditional college diplomas that allow individuals to more effectively demonstrate educational mastery to prospective employers. This would give students the freedom to pursue their own best options for learning, incentivize students to study harder and schools to teach better, and apply competitive pressure on colleges and universities to reduce the costs of education.

Read the full article at ITIF

 

 

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