Cory Leonard

Today’s Students: Same as Always, but More So – Commentary – The Chronicle of Higher Education

In career on October 7, 2012 at 3:56 am

College students today, according to Arthur Levine and Diane Dean, drawing on research from Generation on a Tightrope: A Portrait of Today’s College Student, observe:

  • Most college students (89 percent) say they are optimistic about their personal futures but pessimistic about the future of the country (65 percent).
  • 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.
  • 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. (Forty-one percent have grades of A-minus or higher, compared with 7 percent in 1969, and only 9 percent have grades of C or lower, compared with 25 percent in 1969.)
  • Undergraduates want change, but they are timid rule followers. They are politically disengaged. More than four out of five believe meaningful social change cannot be achieved through traditional American politics. Only one in nine has ever participated in a demonstration, the lowest level in more than 40 years of research.
  • Today’s students are simultaneously the most connected and disconnected generation in collegiate history. They are connected online 24/7, have reduced the historic campus racial and gender barriers, and aspire to have traditional lifelong relationships with a partner and children at higher rates than their predecessors. But their face-to-face communication skills are poor. They live in a world that emphasizes hookups and one-night stands

At the same time, another paradox leaves them connected and discombobulated:

A digital revolution that produced higher education’s first digital natives, who are better at communicating online than in person and often are more closely connected to a virtual social-media community than to the physical campus community. There is a mismatch between them and their colleges on issues as fundamental as when, where, and how education should occur. Often students do not understand fundamental academic conventions, such as the definition of plagiarism, or what constitutes appropriate decorum in a classroom. This create a growing tension between students and faculty.

via Today’s Students: Same as Always, but More So – Commentary – The Chronicle of Higher Education.



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