Limited Learning in U.S. Colleges: Findings from the CLA (Collegiate Learning Association) Study

Richard Arum, New York University

Thursday, February 25, 2010 - 2:30pm

School of Education Colloquium Room, 5604 Wesley W. Posvar Hall, 230 South Bouquet Street, Pittsburgh.

To view the webcast of Dr. Arum's talk, click here (event held 2:30pm EST on Thursday, February 25th).

Talk Description

This study reports findings from the Social Science Research Council's Collegiate Learning Assessment Longitudinal Project.  The project follows approximately 2,400 students at 24 diverse U.S. institutions over time to examine inequality in collegiate experiences and learning patterns in U.S. higher education.  We focus on disadvantaged groups of students, including students from racial/ethnic minority groups, less advantaged family backgrounds, non-English speaking homes, and racially segregated high schools.  Results of analysis of learning during the first two years of college - forthcoming as Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses (Chicago University Press, Fall 2010) - indicate that 45 percent of students had no significant gains in cognitive performance, large numbers of students took courses with very limited curricular demands and disadvantaged groups of students had lower cognitive performance on the Collegiate Learning Assessment (CLA) measure when they first entered college, and often learned less over time, than their more advantaged peers.

Richard Arum is Professor of Sociology and Education, New York University; and Program Director of Educational Research, Social Science Research Council.  He is author of Judging School Discipline: The Crisis of Moral Authority (Harvard University Press, 2003).  He recently co-directed with Adam Gamoran and Yossi Shavit a comparative project on expansion, differentiation and access to higher education in fifteen countries, recently published as Stratification in Higher Education: A Comparative Study (Stanford University Press, 2007).  His current research with Josipa Roksa includes a longitudinal study of factors associated with undergraduate performance in written communication, critical thinking and complex reasoning (as well as post-graduation outcomes) of 2,400 college students across 24 diverse higher education institutions - forthcoming as Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses (University of Chicago Press; Fall 2010).