Discussion Thread: Higher Education in America – The Future

Watch: Contemporary Issues in Higher EducationFrom this week’s reading, Contemporary Challenges and Issues, what section (i.e., Diagnosing the Malaise, Academic Standards, Disinterested Learning, Curricular Conservatism, etc.) do you see as having the most significant impact on the next generation of college-going students and why?

Watch: Insight, Issues, and Research – The State and Future Of Higher Education

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Watch: Contemporary Issues in Higher Education

Also, below is another student’s discussion post on the same topic from above.
Please read and respond, along with a reference source to the response.

‘”This one was more difficult for me to narrow down. As I read through this weeks readings, it struck me that nearly all of these play a role in higher education today and will play a role in the future of higher education. However, the role of academic standards and undergraduate neglect struck me funny. Maybe it is the assessment director in me that was increasingly bothered by both, but if we are to ensure that our colleges and universities are serving students well moving forward, we must ensure that there are quality academic standards in place and those are assessed in a meaningful way. It is also vitally important that the degrees students are earning are not just fluff and handed out willy-nilly. They must be meaningful.

Academic standards also mean that colleges and universities need to be admitting students who are considered college ready into their institutions, which over the last part of the 20th century and now is not always the case (Lucas, 2006). It is well known that with a few well placed donations or wealthy parents admission to highly selective schools is not as difficult as it should be. Hence the college admissions scandal of the last few years. However, that is not the only issue with academic standards. It is difficult to assure that incoming students are prepared for the rigors of college if they have not been prepared in high school. Up to 60% of all incoming college freshman test into some sort of remedial math or English course (Jimenez, Sargrad, Morales, & Thompson, 2016). As a developmental English teacher, this number may be conservative. Not only that, but these courses extend students time to graduation. Within the college, academic standards should mean that the courses students are taking should have rigor. Anyone who has ever sat through any accreditation visit knows that the site visit team looks for that up front. Ensuring academic standards for both incoming freshman and throughout the colleges is vitally important to the success of higher education.

These standards go hand in hand with undergraduate studies. A good majority of the bachelor’s degree is general education requirements and if these are watered down, the degree itself is watered down (Lucas, 2006). The overall goal of general education should be for students to gain a better understanding of multiple areas outside of their major. However, many times students tend to skate by in these courses due to lack of interest or just because these courses are not as rigorous as the should be for a college level course. If we are to ensure that bachelor’s degrees have true meaning, these undergraduate studies at all levels need to be held at a certain standard and assessed as such.”

Jimenez, L., Sargrad, S., Morales, J., & Thompson, M. (2016, September 28). Remedial education: The cost of catching up. Center for American Progress. Retrieved from https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/education-k-12/reports/2016/09/28/144000/remedial-education/#:~:text=The%20national%20rates%20of%20remediation,English%2C%20math%2C%20or%20both.

Lucas, C. J. (2006). American Higher Education. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

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