June 2, 2011

Is college too easy?

From the L.A. Times:
College, too easy for its own good 
Colleges have abandoned responsibility for shaping students' academic development and instead have come to embrace a service model that caters to satisfying students' expressed desires. 
By Richard Arum and Josipa Roksa 
As this year's crop of college graduates leaves school, burdened with high levels of debt and entering a severely depressed job market, they may be asking themselves a fundamental question: Was college worth it? ... 
We recently tracked several thousand students as they moved through and graduated from a diverse set of more than two dozen colleges and universities, and we found consistent evidence that many students were not being appropriately challenged. In a typical semester, 50% of students did not take a single course requiring more than 20 pages of writing [i.e., no more than two ten-page papers], 32% did not have any classes that required reading more than 40 pages per week, and 36% reported studying alone five or fewer hours per week. 
Not surprisingly, given such a widespread lack of academic rigor, about a third of students failed to demonstrate significant gains in critical thinking, complex reasoning and writing ability (as measured by the Collegiate Learning Assessment) during their four years of college. 

The interesting analysis would be whether most of the students who aren't getting better at analyzing information are ones whose SAT / ACT test scores would predict that they have about topped out intellectually, or whether they are often just lazy students who would be getting better if they applied themselves.
... Indeed, the students in our study who reported studying alone five or fewer hours per week nevertheless had an average cumulative GPA of 3.16. 
... These trends have all added up to less rigor. California labor economists Philip Babcock and Mindy Marks, for example, have documented that full-time college students' time spent studying dropped in half between 1960 and today. 

My experience at Rice in the 1970s was that, by today's standards, there really wasn't all that much to do other than to study. Almost nobody had a television in their dorm room, the only video game was Pong, and computers were programmed with punch cards, so they were no fun. Not all that many students had cars, either. (On the other hand, their were two bars on campus, a beer cost 35 cents, the legal drinking age was 18, and nobody carded freshmen to see if they were 18.) But researching a paper in the library was a total drag compared to looking stuff up on the Internet, so I'm not sure how productive all those hours of study were.

In contrast, I watched lots of TV in high school. Maybe we're turning into a Japanese system where you work hard in high school to get into a fancy college, where you take it easy.

Rice back then was hard in science and engineering. It wasn't particularly hard in other majors. In contrast, Stanford was notoriously easy back then, which is why Silicon Valley collapsed. Oh, wait, that didn't happen ... 
Moreover, from 1970 to 2000, as colleges increasingly hired additional staff to attend to student social and personal needs, the percentage of professional employees in higher education who were faculty decreased from about two-thirds to around one-half. At the same time, through their professional advancement and tenure policies, schools encouraged faculty to focus more on research rather than teaching. When teaching was considered as part of the equation, student course assessments tended to be the method used to evaluate teaching, which tends to incentivize lenient grading and entertaining forms of instruction.

It's fun to look up student ratings of celebrity professors. For example, Harvard students express their disdain for Alan Dershowitz with impressive vocabularies: e.g., "repugnant." But, mostly it's pretty depressing reading what students have to say about their classes. The reviews of films submitted for free on Internet Movie Database are a lot more intelligent on average than college class reviews.
So how should this academic drift of our colleges and universities be addressed? Some have proposed introducing a federal accountability system. We are against such a move, as federal regulation would probably be counterproductive and include a large set of detrimental, unintended consequences. 
Accountability in higher education rightly resides at lower levels of the system. College trustees have at the institutional level the fiduciary responsibility to begin holding administrators accountable by asking: How are student learning outcomes and program quality being measured, and what is being done to address areas of concern that have been identified?  ... 

In general, our society doesn't seem to really want to know how much value colleges are adding.
Richard Arum, a professor of sociology and education at New York University, and Josipa Roksa, an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Virginia, are the authors of "Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses."

89 comments:

Anonymous said...

if minorities don't graduate they are prevented from becoming engineers and doctors. That's racist.

Anonymous said...

"ollege trustees have at the institutional level the fiduciary responsibility"

HA!

Gordon Gekko said...

And bankrupt PC ideology, greed, and stupidity, you mark my words, will not only screw over college graduates, but that other malfunctioning corporation called the USA.

Dutch Boy said...

Depends. If you're taking a gimme to fulfill a general ed requirement - yes. If you're taking an advanced math or science class - no. My beef was how many lousy instructors there were at universities (a belief echoed by my peers and acquaintances). My impression is that the situation is no better now and maybe worse (more English as a second language TAs than ever).

Dutch Boy said...

P.S.: glad to hear the Harvard kids find Dershowitz repugnant.

BC in OC said...

One of my law school professors, a Harvard Law graduate, had Dershowitz as a professor. He said every discussion degenerated into Dershowitz on Dershowitz.

In contrast, Lawrence Lessig was the best professor he ever had. "The guy is like a huge throbbing brain," he said.

Gordon Gekko said...

College is not too easy at a few colleges in general or any STEM major at a reputable college.

The fall of Communism and globalization of US colleges have added a potential applicant pool of several billion Chinese, Indian and former Eastern European. The best of these countries get filtered out by their own native anti-PC Darwinian selection process. The best of the best can then come to the US and compete fiercely with Americans for the shrinking islands of real and rigorous education and the jobs they lead to.

agnostic said...

Although college students spend less time working on school, high schoolers spent a whole lot more time on it in 2002 vs. 1980:

Change in high school workload

Since college is now just a signal for how smart you are, you work like hell in high school to get into a college with "high brand value." Once you get there, it doesn't matter what you do or how much you learn.

Young people today are probably putting in just as much time as before on schoolwork during the ages of 14 to 21, but just shifting most of that weight into their high school years.

Unless they are a parent or tutor/teacher of a high school kid, nobody today has any idea just how overburdened high schoolers are with all sorts of junk whose sole purpose is to get them into a Good School.

Whether that lands them a Good Job -- well, that is beyond the scope of the present study, and a question that, while interesting, we defer as a topic for future research.

Anonymous said...

Dershowitz looks and acts like he walked out of central casting for Nazi propaganda film.
I wonder if he angrily reads those ratings, no doubt blaming the handful of WASPs still there... and anti-semitism, of course.

Anonymous said...

Yes, outside math and the hard sciences, college is laughably easy. I went to one of the so-called top universities, sleepwalked through almost all my classes, and still graduated summa. You'd have to be an illiterate moron to get anything less than a B+ in most libarts courses at even the best colleges. (The only exception that this rule was some of the upper-level philosophy courses. They actually required a bit of work to ace.)

Nortaneous said...

That topping out analysis would definitely be interesting. I haven't taken the CLA, but I wouldn't be surprised if it misses at least some gains just because it's too easy.

Also, I think one of the big problems is that professors these days have no clue how to structure a class. In my experience, a lot of them will assign papers by just saying there's a paper due at the end of the semester. No outlines to be turned in, no drafts, and, of course, no feedback, so everyone BSes it at the last minute, turns it in, and never sees it again. Last semester, I took four 4-credit classes and only got feedback on two assignments. If a practically illegible one-liner scrawled in Sharpie on the first page even counts as feedback. And I'm in a small liberal arts school where the professors actually run the classes, so I imagine it's probably even worse in grad-powered factory farms. How are people supposed to learn anything when they're never told what they're doing wrong?

Come to think of it, I got more feedback, and learned more, when I was in community college, even though my professors there were mostly either outspoken Marxists or third-world immigrants who spoke horrible English. My guess as to why is that the class sizes were effectively lower; they were technically slightly larger, but most people never showed up, and most of the rest barely spoke English.

Anonymous said...

"Some have proposed introducing a federal accountability system. We are against such a move, as federal regulation would probably be counterproductive and include a large set of detrimental, unintended consequences."

No Child Left Behind Act, please call your office.

catperson said...

It's not that college is too easy; it's that students today are too smart. Because of better nutrition, kids today are more than 1 SD taller and smarter than they were 90 years ago, so athletic and intellectual challenges that used to be difficult are now laughably easy. Kids today run circles around their parents intellectually, especially when it comes to technology.

Marc B said...

"the percentage of professional employees in higher education who were faculty decreased from about two-thirds to around one-half."

There seems to be an inverse relationship between annual tuition increases and the quality of class instruction. The professors are are slowly being phased out and being replaced by short-term contract lecturers moving from university to university. I suspect these cost increases are funding the high salaries of the growing professional administrative class.

Luke Lea said...

"Not surprisingly, given such a widespread lack of academic rigor, about a third of students failed to demonstrate significant gains in critical thinking, complex reasoning and writing ability"

To say nothing of knowledge acquisition.

Anonymous said...

Kids today run circles around their parents intellectually, especially when it comes to technology.
is this a troll? Knowing how to text message or download porngraphy or post vanity pictures on facebook is not 'intellectual'.
they are 'running circles' ever seen an eighth grade exam from the early 1900s?

Anonymous said...

Liberals oh liberals.

They once said colleges are too exclusive and blind to different kinds of intelligence. And they said more NAMs should attend and graduate from college.
So, standards turned to shit, like credit ratings in home loans.

Now, the same liberals are bitching that college is too easy.
And who's to blame? Ehhh, too much research by professors.

Anonymous said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dusY1knjBBs

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H8fer-neAOA

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hk1KPVaQZWY


Well, at least the education has been televised.

kejo said...

@catperson:

"Kids today run circles around their parents intellectually, especially when it comes to technology."

Change especially to only and I'll buy this.

Anonymous said...

I worked much more in high school than in college. I graduated from HS in 92, then went to UCLA. I had 4 classes, 16 units.
Each class met for less than 3hrs per week plus a discussion. One or two midterms plus a final.

Anonymous said...

Oh, my major was math and econ which are supposed to be hard, but I found easier than lit or history. In math/econ, there were well defined problem sets one had to master. In the north campus classes, there was lots of reading, and arbitrary essay exams.
In math/econ, all you had to make sure was to take profs who didn't really care too much, and you pretty much knew what was going to be on the tests.
This strategy stopped working in grad school, where I got my ass kicked...

Thrasymachus said...

All this depends on what is meant by "education". If you think it means learning new facts or being able to do things intellectually you couldn't do before, this is a minor interpretation; what we call formal education has at most times and places been religious education, which is to say learning, and not questioning too closely, doctrines. And this is most what it means today. Beyond indoctrination it has meant learning to behave the right way around the right people, be these Methodist youth ministers or English gentlemen.

(Preparing for Blogger to eat my comment.....)

alonzo portfolio said...

Well, I agree that today's college students don't exercise their reasoning skills much (I'm on the Berkeley campus almost every day). However, I have to say that even in the '70's, it was entirely possible to graduate from Cal taking lots of mick classes and spending most of one's time drinking beer while blasting Peter Frampton and Thin Lizzy. Incidentally, remember that Duke stripper party? Well, in 1974 there was a similar party at a Berkeley frat that rivaled anything on a European porn film for nastiness, and the chicks were good-looking blondes.

Kylie said...

"Kids today run circles around their parents intellectually, especially when it comes to technology."

Since when is being able to implement existing technology an "intellectual" pursuit?

Over at the IMDb, I find kids who know the buzz words (e.g., DP, montage) but can't grasp any sort of nuance. Indeed they often have difficulty following the plot or understanding a character's motivation. And they view everything through the prism of race.

The level of discussion (i.e., intelligence) there has dropped precipitously in the last decade. Indeed, I sometimes amuse myself by feeding young questioners misinformation re old movies. They don't really want to learn anything anyway so why not?

Anonymous said...

"is this a troll? Knowing how to text message or download porngraphy or post vanity pictures on facebook is not 'intellectual'."


But it can be INTELLIGENT. Look at the Zucker of Facebook.

anony-mouse said...

Wasn't it ever thus?

Remember the 'Gentleman's C'?

I think I remember seeing in the 'Brideshead Revisited' TV series scenes about Oxford in the '20's.

Didn't seem that strenuous.

Geoff Matthews said...

I saw him speak at the Association for Institutional Research in Toronto (5/21/11), and it impressed me.
Most people I spoke to seemed to think that the drop in performance (from years prior) was that we were allowing more people into college, which meant more dumb students.
One other issue of note was that, when comparing the performance of white students versus black students, there was some improvement in white scores over 2 years, but none in black scores. I have to wonder how much of this problem is an African American problem versus a societal problem.
And then, when I teach my stats class (which is majority white), I'm reassured that it is a societal problem.

Anonymous said...

College is one of the fig leaves over our social problems and a promise of security to the middle class.

So, yeah, nobody wants to peer to close at the emperor in case he might be naked.

-osvaldo m.

P.S. Multiple cliches used to guarantee truth value.

Anonymous said...

It's not that college is too easy; it's that students today are too smart.

There are less roundabout ways of admitting that you have no contact with contemporary youth.

_Osvaldo M.

Geoff Matthews said...

Agree on the increase in admin.
Part of this is due to federal reporting requirements, part to providing more services to unprepared students. And part is just providing entertainment services to students.
I know that my job is due to federal reporting requirements (but given that our students receive federal aid, it's probably worthwhile that the feds know what is going on).

dearieme said...

"So how should this academic drift of our colleges and universities be addressed?"

Dissolution of the Monasteries.

Anonymous said...

Over at the IMDb, I find kids who know the buzz words (e.g., DP, montage) but can't grasp any sort of nuance. Indeed they often have difficulty following the plot or understanding a character's motivation. And they view everything through the prism of race.

It's amazing how many supposedly savvy people there can't follow the plot of Brazil and don't understand Lawrence of Arabia ("He's just this racist Englishman who tries to make Arabia a British colony.") Some of these clueless kids will doubtless become Hollywood directors and screenwriters. Lord help us.

Johnny said...

Science and engineering departments seem to be maintaining pretty high standards. Everything else is in freefall, I would agree. Mainly because employers can teach you everything you need to know on the job (scientists and engineers need to know some basic principles), with college being a signaling device for a job applicant's competence, work ethic, and disicpline/maturity.

Half Sigma has also pointed out that a college degree confers prestige on the degree holder. That prestige makes the holder more desirable to employers and clients. For example, Goldman hires Harvard grads, rather than UCLA grads, for i-banking analyst work? Why? Is it because investment banking analysts need to be smart? No, not really. It's because Harvard grads have more prestige, due to their institution's brand name, and the prestige impresses clients and further improves Goldman's brand name. Goldman would rather hire a 3.0 GPA sociology student from Harvard than a 3.9 GPA engineering major from UCLA.

Goldman and the other Wall Street firms hire lots of athletes from crew and lacrosse teams. Why? If they're looking for well rounded and hard working kids, why not hire kids that worked to support themselves during school. That's a lot more impressive than crew/lacrosse. Except that crew and lacrosse carry prestige that rubs on Goldman and impresses clients, while working part time is an indicator of non-elite background and is not prestigious.

Then when these Harvard grads get hired into Goldman and promoted, they hire even more Harvard crew/lacrosse guys. Which further reinforces the value of their degree and athletic backgroud. Then when these Goldman Harvard crew guys have kids, their children often go to Ivy Leagues (as legacies) and then ascend up into Wall Street. Really, it's a big racket if you think about it.

Adjusted for inflation, college tuitition has risen a lot over the past few decades. My guess is that colleges keep class room standards low so they can bring in large numbers of student, graduate them into the labor force, and then cash in on succcessful alumni. There's every incentive to keep academic standards low, even if admission standards are high, to maximize profits. Colleges also don't want to drive away athletes and preps.

Take Harvard v.s. Caltech. Caltech has extremely high classroom standards and immense rigor, while Harvard is pretty easy once you get in and tends to emphasize a "well-rounded university experience" (ie lots of frivolous extracirriculars). Which school is financially in better condition? Which school is more popular with the general public?

If you take away anything from my post, take away that there's a lot of BS that goes with our higher education system

Johnny said...

Adjusted for inflation, college tuitition has risen a lot over the past few decades. My guess is that colleges keep class room standards low so they can bring in large numbers of student, graduate them into the labor force, and then cash in on succcessful alumni. There's every incentive to keep academic standards low, even if admission standards are high, to maximize profits. Colleges also don't want to drive away athletes and preps.

Take Harvard v.s. Caltech. Caltech has extremely high classroom standards and immense rigor, while Harvard is pretty easy once you get in and tends to emphasize a "well-rounded university experience" (ie lots of frivolous extracirriculars). Which school is financially in better condition? Which school is more popular with the general public?

If you take away anything from my posts, take away that there's a lot of BS that goes with our higher education system - and that Wall Street is a racket.

catperson said...

Knowing how to text message or download porngraphy or post vanity pictures on facebook is not 'intellectual'.they are 'running circles' ever seen an eighth grade exam from the early 1900s?

In 1900 only the elite made it to 8th grade, and even still the exams consisted of obscure book knowledge, rather than fluid raw brain power.

If everyone under 50 left the country, America would become a third world country overnight. Baby-boomers lack the raw fluid intelligence to compete in a global high tech economy. Even young NAMs laugh at the intelligence of older whites. Sure older folks can talk about literature and politics, but when it comes to solving novel complex problems, they simply lack the brain power to adapt. This is proven by the Flynn Effect. It's proven by John McCain who has IQ in the top 1% for his generation, but is hopelessly unimpressive by the standards of twenty somethings.

Older people are biologically inferior, both physically and mentally. Not only are they shorter and less athletic, but they have smaller less complex brains as evidenced at autopsy. And it's not because brain size shrinks with age (though it may); it's because earlier generations enjoyed sub-optimal nutrition from the time they were in the womb. Richard Lynn (one of the few older people with something intelligent to say) wrote a whole article about this:

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/019188699090241I

Older people like to look down at the intellectual skills of the younger generation; oblivious to the fact that young folks run circles around them. Old people are so dumb they don't even know they're dumb.

namae nanka said...

"... Indeed, the students in our study who reported studying alone five or fewer hours per week nevertheless had an average cumulative GPA of 3.16. "

per week? that's weak

Anonymous said...

Even young NAMs laugh at the intelligence of older whites. Sure older folks can talk about literature and politics, but when it comes to solving novel complex problems, they simply lack the brain power to adapt.
yes, this is a troll.
Provide some examples of problems NAM "youfs" can solve that dumb old white folks can't.

Also, as evidenced by your post, many young people lack the prudence that comes with experience. Yes, the young can often be amazingly innovative - the pre-raphealites, for example, but I haven't seen intellectual example in the 20th century that hasn't really been a dumb-down, the sixties revolution is a prime example.

Anonymous said...

Ah, the idiotic certitudes of the young.

I wonder if college also functions as a kind of welfare. More efficiency probably just means there's less work to around. Making everyone stay out of the work force for awhile is more just than having some people be unemployable for life. Well, they still are unemployable for life, its just that now they can tell themselves it was because of their poetry major, not because they are useless.

-osvaldo M.

Frederico T said...

I think it is largely the addition of easy majors, such as those that end in "studies", and letting in people who have no reason to be there (who are fond of all those "studies" classes). To get solid As in STEM major disciplines still requires plenty of late nights with book in hand.

Kylie said...

"Even young NAMs laugh at the intelligence of older whites."

You mean young NAMs like the ones described in this article?

What is it like to teach black students?

Dumb as they are, even they are smarter than you. They know and admit they'd be nowhere without the whites providing for them.

"If everyone under 50 left the country, America would become a third world country overnight."

Fine by me. If American turns into a Third World country overnight by the means you so excitingly suggest, my family and I could live off the land. We have the land, the skills, and the technology. It wouldn't be easy but we, a group of older white Americans, would survive.

Could you or any of the Bright Young Things you reference here say the same?

I'd much rather face that scenario than the one of America slowly turning into a Third World country due to the huge numbers of parasitical young NAMs, who would expect to be supported by those ageing white Americans at whom they laugh.

"Older people like to look down at the intellectual skills of the younger generation; oblivious to the fact that young folks run circles around them."

Of course they run circles around us, the same way the stupid turkeys my mother-in-law raises run circles around her. But it's she who kills and eats the turkeys, not the other way round.

I admit that analogy is faulty since the turkeys do serve some useful purpose, unlike so many of the youth of today.

catperson said...

Provide some examples of problems NAM "youfs" can solve that dumb old white folks can't.

Computers, video games, video cameras, rubik's cube, driving, reaction time, the fluid non-verbal section of almost any IQ test; virtually anything that requires real biological intelligence as opposed to acquired book knowledge and the regurgitation of information.

Truth said...

"Harvard students express their disdain for Alan Dershowitz with impressive vocabularies: e.g., "repugnant."

You see I don't think Harvard really is that selective for a black man.

Anonymous said...

Computers, video games, video cameras, rubik's cube, driving, reaction time, the fluid non-verbal section of almost any IQ test
driving reaction time is physical.
Show me some examples of nam youfs solving rubics cube. I can remember those from high school (when they first came out) the only people walking around with them were the one oriental and some semi-autistic white nerds.
"Computers"? are you serious? do think if i put a victrola or a telegraph in a room 'youfs' would just be able to figure it out.
Again you're talking about mechanical things.
show me an example of youfs (can we just agree on that spelling) showing more prudence than adults.

Perhaps you make the mistake of comparing yourself to the baby boomers which, overall are an utterly worthless, immature generation.

Also can we establish some ground rules here, what exactly are you calling young? 18-24? 28? 34?

Anonymous said...

requires real biological intelligence as opposed to acquired book knowledge and the regurgitation of information.
regurgitation is what orientals do at any age.
I cited, earlier, the example of a true intellectual youth movement - the pre-raphealites- but artistically (this is the are i know best, I understand for example james watson said no mathematician was good over 40) most artists hit their stride around 34-37 (michaelangelo, sistine chapel 37, though granted his pieta at 24 is brilliant....but he's michaelangleo) Sargent did madame x at 27, but his later years watercolors are equally impressive.
Shakespeare, best we can tell, is doing his best stuff 36-40s, ben franklin famously did all his scientific discoveries in this 40s after being a crafty entrepreneur.

John Donne's serious stuff is when he brushes off the hot passions of youth - death be not proud, for whom the bell tolls.

Kaz said...

So what if college isn't about just classes and grades anymore. Even if you do get good grades, that isn't enough to demonstrate your true ability to do things. If you're in science/engineering you'll most definitely spend a lot of time on research or doing an internship, these things are REQUIRED if you want to be competitive in the job market post graduation. Same thing with business degrees, experience is key.

Now I don't know what humanities majors do, but I'm sure there is something to do, even for them.

Now about college class reviews, I don't know how formal their system is, but honestly no one cares to put effort in them. Right now all we do is log into the school website, rate the teachers on certain criteria (pre-set multiple choices), and then we have the option of writing things down if we want to. We only do this because the school requires it otherwise they won't release our grades.

Anonymous said...

Computers, video games, video cameras, rubik's cube, driving, reaction time, the fluid non-verbal section of almost any IQ test; virtually anything that requires real biological intelligence as opposed to acquired book knowledge and the regurgitation of information.

Priceless!

Its dumb old white folks who came up with all this stuff in the first place.

These young NAMs who laugh at stupid old white folks, where can we see some of their work? Are they they same technologically savvy young NAMS I see commenting on Facebook, Myspace and youtube? Illiterates who are too dumb and ill informed to know how dumb and ill informed they are?

They are merely consumers of technological products. How does that make them cleverer than the people who invented these things to start with? How are they going to come up with the next generation of products?

That last was a trick question of course.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

"if minorities don't graduate they are prevented from becoming engineers and doctors. That's racist.

6/2/11 12:50 PM"

What is racist is your adding absolutely no value whatsoever to this discussion.

normann said...

I taught college-level foreign language courses from 1988 to 1997 at a "university" that was once the premier teachers' college in the state (where high school Latin teachers were once trained by real classicists). I was lucky to have had a couple of really smart, hard-working students, nearly all "non-traditional", i.e. they had either had been in the military and had seen the world or had worked in the family business. However, the students that I had the least patience for were not necessarily the ones who were in over their heads ("You mean we actually have to, like, memorize vocabulary and which prepositions take the dative?"), but the grade grubbers, who were particularly coddled by the college honors program. I had one such student in my German for Business course. She said she would not take the course for credit unless I could guarantee that she would get an A. Naturally, I refused to let myself be blackmailed in that way (for there is no other word for it). I did let her audit (I did not have tenure at the time, and the German program was under the gun, giving such students the idea that they had leverage over us). I also had to let her participate in the course evaluation, and she moaned about how hard it was (graduate-level, she said). Writing business letters? Graduate level? Anyway, thanks to her evaluation and others just like it, I was not promoted when I got tenure. I didn't care, because I was planning to move to Norway anyway, so I was able to shake the dust of academia off my feet with my pride intact. I never looked back.

By the way, the joke was on her. She would have gotten her A on the basis of her work in the course. But nobody blackmails me.

Black Sea said...

"Young people are the same as they always were. They are just as ignorant." At the 50th anniversary of the Duke of Edinburgh Awards scheme.

catperson, could you comment in slightly less complex terms? I'm finding it difficult to follow your train of thought due to the severe malnutrition I sufered growing up in 1970s America. It was all grass and leaves, and sometimes we were reduced to eating tree bark.

glib, facile n snarky said...

"Older people like to look down at the intellectual skills of the younger generation; oblivious to the fact that young folks run circles around them. Old people are so dumb they don't even know they're dumb."

Ah, summer...

jb or mz's black hoodie said...

"College is one of the fig leaves over our social problems and a promise of security to the middle class."

My big issue is the utilitarian value of college. Since I'm older and not impressed with the indoctrination I see has replaced any attempt at the more formal, objective approach of earlier eras, I wonder just how much people (students or their parents) should be willing to spend on college.

Although I'm pretty sure my experiences good and bad with higher education would help me give good advice to any college age child, it concerns me that the unwary or uninitiated might be wasting time and money because they have no parent or older sibling to guide them.

@ this recurring somewhat encyclopedic pedanticish poster -

"regurgitation is what orientals do at any age.
I cited, earlier, the example of a true intellectual youth movement - the pre-raphealites- but artistically (this is the are i know best, I.."

We iSteve readers are frequently regaled by the erudition evinced in your comments and would like to know which esteemed bastion of higher learning to hold responsible.

Anonymous said...

What is racist is your adding absolutely no value whatsoever to this discussion.

I disagree. He added snark, a rare and valuable commodity in the world of blogospheric commentary.

Anonymous said...

"Anonymous said...

"requires real biological intelligence as opposed to acquired book knowledge and the regurgitation of information."

regurgitation is what orientals do at any age. "

Funny how you brought up the "orientals", even though they were not really part of your young'uns vs oldies discussion. Insecure much?

That being said, I am sure palefaces of all ages are just bursting with Michelangelo-quality creativity. Is that why America is trapped in an endless spiral of economic stagnation and deflation? So much for the vaunted white creativity.

Anonymous said...

'Fluid raw brain power...' Forget G, this young cat person has given us FRBP. But I don't think cat person should leave out spontaneous verse, aka hip hop, aka rap, in his list of FRBP loaded activities.
Skateboarding also.
Gilbert p.

David said...

College isn't worth it. The jobs have gone, or are going, overseas.

Either go to college and then get a job overseas, or skip college, stay here, and learn to flip burgers. Right now people are going to college and then staying here, with a future of nothing but flipping burgers (or the equivalent) to look forward to; this is the worst possible choice.

It's just possible one might be able (through attrition and pull) to get a USA job in the Borg world (academia, PC corporate, or government); but I'm talking about smart, honest, and self-respecting people.

David said...

The prestige factor of the Big Schools is somewhat like the celebrity status of Zsa Zsa Gabor. She was famous simply for being famous; they are prestigious because, well, they're prestigous.

Have they earned this prestige? In the past, yes (let's assume). But are they currently earning it? Perhaps (another assumption). Will they continue to do in the future, no matter what the objective quality of the students they accept and/or graduate? It's doubtful.

In other words, a brand name isn't forever.

A brand name can deteriorate.

A good name must be kept up.

If "Harvard" comes to mean a bunch of douches, the name "Harvard" will no longer be a mink mark. It will become a punchline or a curse.

Anonymous said...

We iSteve readers are frequently regaled by the erudition evinced in your comments and would like to know which esteemed bastion of higher learning to hold responsible.

Where i went to college is inconsequential. The best art schools for representational artists are non-accredited atelier systems - such as the Art Students League, Grand Central Academy, Janus Collaborative, all in NYC. They are literally 1/10th the tuition of an accredited art school where you will learning nothing practical.

And that, should give you some idea how I was 'educated' (trick question name me a great 19th or 20th century realist artist with a college degree.

As for orientals, as i pointed out in a post earlier, i can very often tell an oriental painter - they are methodical, meticulous but robotic, totally lacking creativity even when they try to be 'painterly' like sargent or sorolla, - its all contrived, rote imitation.

JW Ogden said...

Well not to worry schooling is not nearly as important to learning and living as we think. An example is that some computer programmers are at least 4 or 5 times more productive than the average computer programmer. Computer programming ability has almost nothing to do with schooling. Schooling is not even a good test for computer programming ability. The best computer programmer that I have worked with was not great at math though he did very well computer science classes and he only has a 2 year degree from community college. I have also worked with a Computer science grad who got all A's though school who was practically useless.

Polistra said...

A few colleges are starting to use evaluations by recent alumni instead of evals by current students. Makes good sense.

"Nice" profs generally don't give you much lasting value, and "tough" profs may give you more. (Or they may just be assholes.)

You can't really tell who gave you the best preparation until you've been out in the world for a few years... but not so many years that you forget the connection.

SFG said...

If the kids are working on their social skills instead of book knowledge, they're doing the right thing as far as the free market goes.

Anonymous said...

Steve,

I think college is what the individual student makes of it.

What really matters is the course of study chosen by the high IQ students.

As Charles Murray has said, the people with the highest IQ are the ones that really influence what direction a society goes in.

What I observe at the better state schools these days is that a very large percentage of the high IQ white gentiles seem to choose fields of study that are fun and exciting, but that do not lead to safe steady high incomes. To put a finer point on it, high IQ white gentiles are not going in to things that actually enhance the GDP of America, but rather in to "fluff"


Steve, as for myself, I set myself on a path in college to make the most money possible. Some years I earn a high six figure income and other years I earn a very low seven figure income by owning a number of value creating small companies. I am a capitalist at heart. Thanks to your blog and other blogs that discuss HBD I understand that most of the reason for my business success and high income is the fact that i was born with a very high IQ and born with a high level of motivation.

Anyway, as a capitalist I compete with other hard working super high IQ ambitious people. It hurts me personally to have an extra ten million super high IQ ambitious people from Korea move to the USA because they will compete head on with my businesses and drive down my profits.

On the other hand, it benefits me massively to have an extra ten million people from Nicaragua move to the USA since the people from Nicaragua generally don't have the IQ to successfully start businesses and compete with me. Ten million people from Nicaragua simply create customers for my businesses and drive down wages for the low IQ workers that I hire.

So if all i cared about was my own selfish interests, and my own intense desire to make more money to provide a good standard of living to my children and grandchildren, i would be in favor of ten million incremental low IQ people moving to the USA and against ten million incremental high IQ people moving to the USA.

However, My patriotism and altruism and nationalism and CITIZENISM leads me to want the USA to be the richest and strongest nation, with the highest per capita income and with a relatively more even wealth distribution. Along those lines, I want massive massive immigration of high IQ people from Korea to the USA.

steve, I think if you look at the data you will see that super high IQ people from Korea COMPETE with the high paid people already in the usa like investment bankers and business owners. Super high IQ immigrants from Korea help every single person in the USA have a better standard of living EXCEPT FOR HIGH EARNERS LIKE ME. HIGH EARNERS LIKE ME SEE LOWER INCOMES DUE TO IMMIGRATION OF HIGH IQ PEOPLE FROM KOREA

If you look at the college majors of people who are super high IQ immigrants from Korea what you see is lots of engineering and other things that actually add value and help build America and keep America strong. A very high percentage of the Koreans go on to found businesses and pay very high taxes.

On the other hand, if you look at high IQ white gentiles you see lots of them going in to working for nonprofits, becoming lawyers, trying to get in to the media industry, trying to become "sports agents" and generally doing things that are cool and high status but that don't really contribute to the us economy.

So my point is that a high IQ gentile born in America will go to college and select relatively easy courses and just not learn a lot and not contribute a lot to our nation while on the other hand a high IQ person of Korean ancestry will select the major that will make him or her the most money on average which means hard majors that really contribute to the success of our nation.

Anonymous said...

Ha! I wondered and Wikipedia confirmed they were related. Richard Arum is boxing promoter Bob Arum's son. I wonder if Richard is as hot headed and foul mouthed?

Anonymous said...

Hmmm. I'm guessing Anonymous 6/3/11 10:16 AM is Korean-American.

Anonymous said...

"If you look at the college majors of people who are super high IQ immigrants from Korea what you see is lots of engineering and other things that actually add value and help build America and keep America strong. A very high percentage of the Koreans go on to found businesses and pay very high taxes."

Engineering and other things? That's what 3rd worlders do!!

I must study politics and war that my sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy. My sons ought to study mathematics and philosophy, geography, natural history, naval architecture, navigation, commerce, and agriculture, in order to give their children a right to rap, party, engage in orgies and let immigrants clean up after them.

Anonymous said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dusY1knjBBs

good lord!!

glib, facile n snarky said...

"Instead, he devoted his intellect almost exclusively to the collection of streetcar transfers, and to the study of the history of his native Boston. He worked hard at becoming a normal human being, but never entirely succeeded. He found the concept of beauty, for example, to be completely incomprehensible, and the idea of sex repelled him. At fifteen he took a vow of celibacy, which he apparently kept for the remainder of his life, dying a virgin at the age of 46."

from an article on extremely high IQ posted on The Prometheus Society website

The poster suggesting that only 150+ IQ Asians are making money in this country is a self-promoting bag of wind. Your IQ obviously falls well below what any college educated person would consider extremely high. Plus, as an East Asian (90-120 cluster probably due to extreme inbreeding), the probability is even lower that you are in this range.

There are lots of bright people who make money and build businesses. The Walton family, for instance, who aren't particularly known for being geniuses. Then there's the film industry with its motley assortment of wealthy beneficiaries of the public's insatiable desire for entertainment. Similarly, there are the numerous fast food empires with success driven by the insatiable appetite people have for hamburgers and pizza, also not known for having been created by high IQ nerds.

Furthermore, why isn't South Korea drawing a huge amount of investment along with lower IQ immigrants clamoring to get in to take those jobs too easy for extremely high IQ Koreans to do? The last I heard was that instead of teeming with capitalist urges, South Koreans were devolving into socialist drones who weren't particularly fond of Americans.

Yes, while you can say anything here on iSteve, what you say doesn't necessarily mean anything.

Oh, and for the art institute grad, so what?

David said...

The Korean super genius is mistaken that the importation of dummies is good for him selfishly. If it is, then why doesn't he move to a poor province of India? Or, to Harlem in the USA? In either place, he would be in paradise, by his lights: surrounded by dummies, in a dummy society, with a dummy culture, where no one can compete with him. Good luck getting an efficient sewer service or police force, though.

glib, facile n snarky said...

"And that, should give you some idea how I was 'educated' (trick question name me a great 19th or 20th century realist artist with a college degree."

OK. I'll bite on this one anyway. Since I can only remember this one, I'll say the Wyeth who did the Helga paintings.

Anonymous said...

The title of this thread says it all

"Is College Too Easy?"

Looking at super high IQ kids in college right now, which of them make it easy on themselves and which make it hard?

I would argue that the super high IQ kids that choose to get on the "cool & trendy" track make it easy and the super high IQ kids that study engineering and science make it hard.

glib, facile n snarky said...

"So my point is that a high IQ gentile born in America will go to college and select relatively easy courses and just not learn a lot and not contribute a lot to our nation while on the other hand a high IQ person of Korean ancestry will select the major that will make him or her the most money on average which means hard majors that really contribute to the success of our nation."

What does an Asian business, nursing or engineering student know that a Caucasian liberal arts major doesn't? You are speaking in terms of a broad knowledge base vs more focused, often technical knowledge. The Western tradition in education started with this all encompassing approach to learning. The more limited, technical learning was relegated to an inferior position until the modern era, coinciding with the Soviet focus on engineering degrees and the Cold War. A change in preference for engineering and science degrees has not at all reduced the need for pundits with training in these fields to have the broad knowledge base of a liberal arts major to draw upon when interfacing with the public. It's the difference between learning a lot about one subject and learning much about many that you are describing. We Westerners don't consider a person truly erudite unless they demonstrate an affection for the latter type of learning that just happens to be combined with an obsession with a scientific or technological endeavor. I suspect that Western Civilization will show preference for those who demonstrate this ability to incorporate knowledge from many fields until we cease to exist entirely.

jb or mz's black hoodie said...

"I would argue that the super high IQ kids that choose to get on the "cool & trendy" track make it easy and the super high IQ kids that study engineering and science make it hard."

On the contrary, these kids are doing what is easier for them that just happens to be marketable right now. I've known at least one Caucasian with an engineering major who found the lower level liberal arts courses he was required to take very difficult. I suspect this is true for most Asians as well. If engineering types would recognize their place, that we only have room for a finite number of them, it wouldn't be such a bad proposition to import a few now and then.

Anonymous said...

I'll say the Wyeth who did the Helga paintings.
nope his father NC wyeth (who did the famous book illustrations like treasure island, in fact kept him out of school altogether for a time.

Anonymous said...

"Is college too easy?"

Perhaps it is the parents that determine whether college is easy or not easy.

Amy Biehl had super high IQ, IQ high enough to get in to Stamford without the benefit of Affirmative Action or legacy preferences.

Amy's family defined "status" in a certain way - she pursued a course of studies that made college "easy" and then used what she learned to go to Africa where she was murdered.

At the same time, the Northeast Asians in Amy's class at Stamford typically majored in "hard" classes like engineering and science and went off to make real money and pay taxes.

It is well documented that northeast asian parents tell their children to study subjects that result in them making money, while white parents often tell their children to do "what makes them happy"

Shawn said...

Is writing a 5 page pager versus a 20 page paper more intellectuality challenging or just more of the same, i.e. busy work, where there is a depreciating return on what is actually learned?

Now that I think about it, there is a depreciating return on college after 2 years. I hardly remember anything I learned from undergrad.

Anonymous said...

Steve Hsu wrote a paper a while ago analyzing GPA and SAT data by major at his (big public) university. He found that in the humanities and social sciences students could earn very high GPAs with low SATs, whereas this almost never happened in physics and pure math, and less so in chemistry and biology.

I think he also had a blog post where he showed the range of asian IQs (standard deviation) was as large or larger than in the white population.

Gordon Gekko said...

In theory it shouldn't matter what you study or where - smart and motivated kids ultimately end up teaching themselves more than any class does.

In practice, humans tend to become complacent herd animals, especially when not challenged to their abilities or forced to think rigourously and independently.

Thus, a STEM grad from a decent institution whose had to hustle against the hypercompetitive cream of billions of American and internationalized students graduates with sharpened intellect, discipline and independence. If they don't lack easily-detectable interpersonal communication skills, they are extremely valuable in the workforce.

Bright HS kids later graduating from with a typical liberal arts major (with increasingly rare exceptions like philosophy), have learned bad work habits, are overly confident and opininated having never been challenged by professors, peers or subject matter. Worse yet, they are indoctrinated with anti-reality anti-value creating PC nonsense (eg vitimology) that make them less able to understand, adopt, and contribute in society.

Certainly, taking two equally talented olympic hopefuls and training one in Colorado Springs while the other at some local high school will produce vastly different results after 4-5yrs.
It would be impossible that most bright liberal arts grads wouldn't similarly suffer weakened intellect of their faded raw intellect, as well as have less capacity for hard and sustained work.

The intense internationally competitive nature of STEM fields today automatically filters out the dumb, lazy and cunning since they would never be able or willing to work so hard and push themselves.

Three obvious clues:

(1) students fail out of STEM fields into the liberal arts, not the reverse.
(2) the brightest and most motivated of the billions coming to US universities from Asia, India and Europe come for STEM degrees - lib arts degrees are generally looked down upon and not worth the expense and opportunity cost
(3) At least at my elite STEM college, our STEM college had the highest GPA for courses taken out of the department (primarily lib arts). I'd be surprised if this wasn't a general rule as Verbal IQ correlates with Non-Verbal IQ more than most lib art majors wish was true.

Truth said...

"At the same time, the Northeast Asians in Amy's class at Stamford typically majored in "hard" classes like engineering and science and went off to make real money and pay taxes."

Yeah the ones at Yale too. Except for the one that got murdered by the white guy.

Gordon Gekko said...

Is writing a 5 page pager versus a 20 page paper more intellectuality challenging or just more of the same, i.e. busy work, where there is a depreciating return on what is actually learned?

Yes. Writing is an art that you get better with largely through practice like music. Exceptions may be formulaic styles like tech writing that sort is very self limiting and narrow in scope.

If a competent professor is really analyzing your paper, giving you appropriate and insightful feedback and you address these issues with each new paper you can be taught to write better. This can only happen in a small seminar format typically found in expensive small lib art colleges. The other 99% of us have to teach ourselves through trail and error, observation and persistence.

Even in most lib arts colleges, rarely does this chain of requirements exist or persist.
Most are subject to low quality or work ethic student and/or professor/TAs as well as overall PC-nonsense that avoids hurtful (meaningful) critique and rewards blathering suitable for many nonsense topics.

glib, snarky n facile said...

"Amy Biehl had super high IQ, IQ high enough to get in to Stamford without the benefit of Affirmative Action or legacy preferences."

The total IQ number doesn't tell you what a person's strengths are. I believe greater gender dimorphism in Caucasians reduce the likelihood that even the daughter of an engineer will be competent in a hard science major. And you haven't provided any information on what Amy's parents do for a living or what their degrees were.

I've noticed that Asian females often follow this pattern as well although they'll tend to pursue a less demanding degree in nursing, business or accounting rather than liberal arts. Not to mention, I've known a handful of Asian males who weren't competent in the hard sciences either.

Had Amy lived no doubt she could've gone to law school or become a teacher or even gotten whatever science credits she needed, if any, to go on to medical school. You are also forgetting she had any number of opportunities working for the government and in international business because of her interest in Africa.

I'm constantly amazed at the gaucheness of Asians who equate the amount of money in their checking account with both status and IQ. Whites don't. Being good at accumulating wealth is only one kind of ability. Many of the intellectuals in our society aren't motivated by money nor do they have the time apart from their research to gamble in the stock market. Most of them will make a decent salary over a lifetime, pay their taxes and retire comfortably. Just as most of those Asian engineers will live a comfortable middle class lifestyle without becoming super rich. I'm thinking some of what impresses Asians as great wealth is the greater quality of life possible in this country vs the ones they left.

Consider that since wealth and status are one and the same to you people and learning for the sake of learning not high priority, you are wasting money getting your degree from an Ivy League U.

Get over it. There are many paths to follow for a successful life. White Americans don't need to learn to be like Asians nor do we need to be replaced by a race of people with a tendency toward better computational skills seemingly at the expense of curiosity. There is also absolutely no reason to settle on a life course that makes you miserable.

jb or mz's black hoodie said...

"Most are subject to low quality or work ethic student and/or professor/TAs as well as overall PC-nonsense that avoids hurtful (meaningful) critique and rewards blathering suitable for many nonsense topics."

You wouldn't believe the two upper level writing courses I took trying to compensate for the mistake of testing out of freshman English. One was a rhetoric course requiring iconoclastic commentary on the status quo in America. I remember the teacher, who had a degree in art rather than English, mumbling something about food banks being sinister. ????????? The next was an expository writing course in which we wrote autobiographies of our lives up to that point. As I began to think a teaching certificate might be in order, I made a last ditch effort to take a journalism course at a community college (to get experience with editing and types of writing more accessible to kids). It was already closed. I did take a course called Modern English Grammar and Usage. Despite the title, it was strictly a linguistic approach that reminded me how to do sentence diagramming but was too descriptive for honing in on usage.

I'd consider advocating teacher colleges again just in case the professors would be more likely to attend to the fact that their students will be responsible for distilling the information to younger generations.

Gordon Gekko said...

Consider that since wealth and status are one and the same to you people (Asians) and learning for the sake of learning not high priority,

That's an exaggerated stereotype. Asians are very much like Jews valuing both material success and education. To split hairs, SE Asian Indians fit this stereotype more than NE Asians, and both are driven by 1st/2nd generation need to materially establish themselves.

A higher percentage of very smart and driven Asians voluntarily choose poorer paying careers if they come with intellectual or cultural status. Check out how many Asians make up STEM faculty and staff vs the big money in industry. See what percentage of symphonies, a dying art form, have NE Asian musicians. The normalized percentage of Asians in these cultural and intellectual is much higher than for gentile whites.

glib, facile n snarky said...

"A higher percentage of very smart and driven Asians voluntarily choose poorer paying careers if they come with intellectual or cultural status."

This reflects risk aversion. I imagine the big money makers ARE the more extroverted Indian immigrants. Their natural curiosity and verbal skills prevent most of them from being merely money hungry though.

Gabriel K said...

"A higher percentage of very smart and driven Asians voluntarily choose poorer paying careers if they come with intellectual or cultural status."

- How about "Slurpee clerk" or "NY Taxi Driver", because those are pretty common, and I don't think many Maharashtrian mothers are going to be bragging to all the neighbors about their son with a title like that.

Gordon Gekko said...

This reflects risk aversion. I imagine the big money makers ARE the more extroverted Indian immigrants. Their natural curiosity and verbal skills prevent most of them from being merely money hungry though.

There is some truth to this from my observations - especially the higher verbal fluency. But Indians do not seem to be at all interested in high culture and materially poor careers like classical musicians the way NE Asians do. I've also encountered more self-impoverishing whacky leftist NE Asian lawyers, academics, etc and virtually zero such Indians.

Also, I get the distinct impression that NE Asians concentrate and do better at more intellectual pursuits like elite math and science competitions. Indians also outperform in these (not to the same degree, esp internationally), but also like mundane route memory contests like spelling bees and scrabble competitions which NE Asians seem to avoid.

Another interesting point of comparison is that NE Asians seem to be far more athletic yet Indians seem far more sexualized.

It would be interesting to see some hard stats compliled on this.

Anonymous said...

"Less rigor"?

The LA Times itself has demanded less and less rigor from its writers and readers over the years (PC groupthink).

... so what's the problem with colleges doing the same?

In a statist society all that matters is ideological purity and not intellectual "rigor".

Anonymous said...

That being said, I am sure palefaces of all ages are just bursting with Michelangelo-quality creativity. Is that why America is trapped in an endless spiral of economic stagnation and deflation? So much for the vaunted white creativity.

All ages? Strawman argument.

America isnt being run by Americans, that doesnt help at all.

Finally, the old, old question. If white America is so worthless why is it you asian guys want to come here, why is it you cant work your magic back home?

Anonymous said...

@ Gordon Gekko:

I'm with ya' - good observations regarding Chinamen vs. Hindoos. It's the Germans vs. the Ashkenazis, Asian style. Without the whole crypsis bit.

Mr. Anon said...

"Is college too easy?"

Given that Patrick Kennedy graduated from one, I'd have to say yes.

Trident Online Universities said...

Depends on the major. I reckon majors like Mathematics, Chemical Engineering aren't easy at all. Also depends on the college; I doubt that students have it easy at UCLA or any of the UC schools.