The decline of studying

How university students are spending less time hitting the books while earning better grades than ever

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In 2006, Philip Babcock, a labour economist at the University of California, was surfing online when he came across a survey on the time use of undergraduate students at his school that shocked him. He noticed students were reporting perplexingly low studying times. Comparing his own university experience to his teaching experience over the past five years, Babcock had a gut feeling students weren’t studying as much, but remembers thinking, “people are always criticizing the generation that comes after them. Maybe they’re working their tails off.” So he decided to test the hypothesis. In the resulting study, to be published in the Review of Economics and Statistics later this year, Babcock and his co-author, Mindy Marks, found that since 1961, the amount of time an average undergraduate student spends studying has declined by 42 per cent, from 24 hours a week to 14. That drop is found within every demographic subgroup, within every faculty and at every type of college in the United States.

The study didn’t look at Canada, but the trend is true across North America. In his upcoming book, Lowering Higher Education: The Rise of Corporate Universities and the Fall of Liberal Education, James Côté, a sociology professor at the University of Western Ontario, analyzed a data set taken from 12,000 students from the U.S. and Canada and found similar results. Study times have gone down and grades have gone up, with the Canadian university average climbing from C to a B+/A- over the past 30 years.

Babcock’s study is one of the largest of its kind. The data of full-time students at four-year undergraduate programs was extracted from national surveys of thousands of people and represented four time periods: 1961, 1981, 1987-1989, and 2003-2005.

“The challenge was to make sure that we were comparing likes to likes,” says Babcock, who said it was complicated to account for demographic changes at the schools—more women, more working students—and to control for differently worded questions. In fact, women in recent cohorts were found to study on average more than men, and some faculties, like engineering, clocked more hours hitting the books than others.

As for the cause of the studying drop, he says the study only gives the hard numbers, but speculates the most plausible explanation is that university standards have fallen. He cites another of his studies, one on grade inflation to be released in the Journal Economic Inquiry later this year, to back up that claim. “The basic evidence is that instructors give higher grades, students work less and also students give them higher ratings,” says Babcock. “I don’t think there is much pressure to rein in the generous allocation of grading or to make sure that people make their courses difficult or demanding.”

Babcock is not the first to suggest that lower study times and grade inflation are linked. “When you look at grade inflation it’s a sign that we’re putting in less human capital, the standards have dropped and students are less engaged,” says Côté, who says disengaged students study less. “Most of the excuses for why we should tolerate disengagement don’t pan out,” he adds. “At best, work cuts into study time about two hours a week on average. That’s not an explanation for widespread disengagement.” He says that instead of studying, students have increased their leisure time and enjoy activities like sports, beer drinking, and parties.

But stats don’t tell the whole story, says Dean Giustini, reference librarian at the Biomedical Branch Library at the University of British Columbia. Having worked in the field for 15 years, Giustini says it’s impossible to demarcate what constitutes studying across the years, given that habits are changing all the time. “I remember talking with some of my professors, who said, ‘When we went to school we had to memorize 500 sources, and memorize the entire cataloguing rules from A to Z,’ ” he says. “Now there are so many different ways we can learn a subject. We don’t have to memorize.” Giustini says that in classrooms today you’ll be more likely to find a team-oriented, problem-based approach to learning as opposed to regurgitating facts and statistics. “More social forms of learning have taken the place of that model,” says Giustini. In other words, in the information age, the increasingly blurry line between studying and communicating may muddy the question of whether a student learns the material.

Ross Alger, an engineering student at the University of British Columbia, would say that squares with his own experience. “Every resource is at my fingertips,” says Alger. “If I have a physics problem I go to a website, I don’t have to spend hours going through a textbook trying to figure out something basic.” For the record, says Alger, even with the Internet, on top of his six-hour-a-day, five-days-a-week course load, he studies a minimum of two or three hours a night, and he says his classmates do more.

But Babcock says that if new technological tools have streamlined studying, it’s not by much: between 1988 and 2004, there was only a two-hour decline in study time. The greatest drop occured from 1961 to 1981, which was when professor ratings first came into vogue. That in turn motivated profs to grade easier, leading to falling standards, which Babcock argues led to a grade-inflation epidemic.

Instead of spending their time studying, Babcock and some of his fellow critics suggest students are finding other ways to produce better grades. Last year, Iris Franz, a visiting economics professor at Houston Baptist University, published a study that found students pester professors—obsessive emails, emotional crying, annoying visits to their offices—with more success than professors realize. “Professors don’t want to deal with students,” says Franz, “so they just inflate their grades so they can just close the door and do their research.” And now, it’s not just students that professors have to deal with. Tim Rahilly, associate VP of students at Simon Fraser University, says today’s students have “unprecedented levels of parental involvement.” Rahilly says that he often fields calls from parents and that increasing numbers of students are filling out privacy forms so parents can access their marks.

This trend dovetails with a system-wide push for universities to show results. Schools are on the hook to demonstrate better averages, as are teachers. Measurable ways to assess teachers have become the focus of a heated national debate about American public schools. This week, the Economic Policy Institute, an American think tank, released a report concluding that public school administrators rely too much on evaluations, and consequently “do a poor job of systematically developing and evaluating teachers.”

Calin Valsan, a finance professor at Bishop’s University in Lennoxville, Que., says universities face similar problems. In his 2008 study in the Journal of Economic Issues, Valsan says that since student-teacher evaluations were introduced in the 1960s, universities have used them to appear more like corporations with measurable results. Valsan says that the evaluations “were hijacked by university administrators” who were looking for hard numbers to quantify teaching as a marketable statistic to secure funding and as an easy way to assess profs. Valsan says that the evaluations are “central in universities for tenure and promotion” (albeit slightly less so for major research universities). “As a feedback mechanism they are fine, but as an administrative evaluating tool they aren’t,” says Valsan, who says the evaluations are manipulated on both sides.

Babcock says the evaluations create “perverse incentives” for instructors who aren’t rewarded for a rigorous curriculum, but are rewarded for maintaining a high class average. “A very fine communicator that grades very strictly may very well get a lower rating than a poor instructor that grades easy,” says Babcock. “I find it really disturbing.”

“It’s a classic game of prisoners’ dilemma, says Valsan. “Both students and professors make life easier for the other party.”




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The decline of studying

  1. If standards were so much higher in 1961, why is it that some of my profs who earned their PhDs around that time were such completely incompetent writers and researchers?

    • Anyone who earned a PhD in 1961 would be in their eighties now. They would have retired from teaching many years ago.

      • This was a few years ago, and it may not have been 1961, but it was certainly the 60s. One of the profs in question is definitely still teaching, and he's well into his 70s. Sadly, not all institutions have mandatory retirement.

  2. I'm a second year university student, and can sympathize with the notion that post-secondary education has gotten a tad less, overwhelming lets say. But from experience fo my past year, I chalk that up with the fact that, like the article mentioned, the resources to learning have never been greater. I have utelized study groups, peers, professors, Teaching Assistants, the library, the internet study groups that speicfic classes set up, and the like many many times, and continue to do so. They are completely invaluable for someone who learns like me; I DREADED memorizing all the -er verbs en francais but when I was in my study group where essentially banned conversing in English, it became second nature in no time.

    I think that while actual "crunch time" in the library has gone down, the utelization of other resources to help learn and study have been widely accepted. I know I've used them. However, I have still, as well as all my friends, put in many hours in the library. I don't think they'll ever get rid of that old song of "hitting the books".

    • But, my dear man, you do need to work on your spelling.

      • Yes he does. :) )

    • i think the whole concept of "the utilization of resources" is a flaming load of crap. compare the intellectual quality of written work from 100 years ago and tell me that the quality has improved. tom sawyer and huckleberry finn was a children's book for chrissake.

      • That almost no one in that time period could read apparently, based on the literacy rates.

    • Good post. As an over-educated 50-something, I'm prone to think that standards at universities have slipped, and that grades are better only because teachers, for various reasons, are more 'generous'. You point out several reasons that today's students now might really be learning more. If you're part of a study group that speaks in French all the time (even quite imperfectly), good on you — 'in my day' French class consisted of a dozen or so people who were diligent at grammar/translation, but outside class we did not converse much in any language. With due respect to Bettie, your spelling is fine except for 'utilize' (I object to the over-'utilization' of this word these days, but again that's my generation).

  3. This is also one of the primary arguments against tying university subsidies to enrolment figures (or providing the funding through students) or grades. After all, if the university gets more money based on either of those things, they're going to want to push as many students as possible through, whether or not they actually qualify. Individual professor integrity will of course hold back the tide to some extent, but as pointed out above, the institutional push alone toward getting the types of professors that can process many students with good grades will eventually take its toll.

    Unfortunately, I don't know what the solution is. The market solution, that businesses will stop hiring those schools which put out lesser qualified graduates takes years or even decades to work — if it works at all, and how many of our kids would be poorly served by their post-secondaries while we wait for that to take effect?

    At the same time, if we don't tie funding to enrolment or grades, what do we tie it to? Standardized testing would seem to be the answer, but how on earth do you develop standardized tests for the wealth and breadth of knowledge offered by post-secondary institutions. Especially when a large part of the university degree is also involved in teaching people how to critically evaluate the information they find. Maybe one professor tells a colleague what he intends to teach over the course of the year, and the colleague then designs and marks the tests and assignments?

    Or maybe we just need to start insisting that post-secondary institutions all begin grading on the curves again.

  4. It was an interesting article but struck me as flawed. Applying the same arguments to agriculture would no doubt lead to the result that since 1960 there has been a dramatic drop in the time farmers have spent working each acre. The authors would not doubt conclude that the food yield must have plummeted. Of course, with crops we can readily measure tonnage and even carry out a nutritional analysis if we choose. To go beyond mere opinion the authors needed some objective measure of the quality of the education received. As it is, all they did was convince me that the science of economics is generally just that, someone's opinion.

    • A rough outcome variable we have is the wage premium one gets for having a university degree. This may slightly understate the value of a degree, because it does not include social benefits like creating "good citizens", which I tend to discount anyway. The wage premium on a degree is a reasonable measure of how much additional productivity university graduates have versus high school graduates. I will divide by gender, since there is a huge gap.

      According to the CPS (so these are US figures – my understanding is that the education premium is smaller in Canada, because we are less technologically advanced and still have good jobs in resource extraction and manufacturing) the real wage of high school grads vs. university grads was:

      1991
      HS men: 33,217
      BA/BSc men: 55,604
      Premium: 67%

      HS women: 16,678
      BA/BSc women: 32,325
      Premium: 94%

      2008
      HS men: 30,879
      Bachelor men: 57,278
      Premium: 85%

      HS women: 18,293
      Bachelor women: 36,294
      Premium: 98%

      The problem is untangling whether this increase in the wage premium is the result:
      A. an increase in the knowledge of students,
      B. an increase in the average quality of university graduates (or a decrease in the average quality of somebody without a degree)
      C. increased demand for the skills that university graduates have.

      My own guess is that the largest effect is the information revolution and collapse of the Fordist industries. The gender comparison make for a useful controlled comparison in this regard. The premium for males increased significantly, as well-paying manufacturing jobs disappeared. Indeed, high school graduates actually made less in real terms in 2008 than in 1991. In contrast, women, who tended not to hold well-paying manufacturing jobs (and therefore should not see their wages impacted by deindustrialization), experienced virtually no change in their wage premiums.

      At the same time, changing wage premiums do not seem to reflect a significant drop in the value of degrees to employers (which is not to say that they won't as the number of graduates increases). We are talking about an increase from 14% to 19% of the workforce here. Where I have my doubts is that it is possible to accommodate more than that number (eg. the roughly 30-35% that go to university today).

      • Thanks for putting some numbers to this. Certainly you have captured the university as path to a career measure pretty well, although I agree that there is no clear way to pull out the structural differences in markets then & now.

        • Or the curriculum. That's my biggest problem with this article, there no correlation made between how much students study less in their post-secondary education and how much they know more coming out of high school.

      • of course that is highly subjective as well being based on the markets perception. frankly all of this is conjecture thats why people like me in practical trades laugh when you pencil pushers try to justify your selves. LOL!!!!

      • So your point is your less numerous there for more valuable???? but you don't do anything!!!!

  5. Andrew Tolson is an astute photographer.

    • Agreed.Very nice;good composition and meaningful placements.

  6. Grads don't use their degrees unless it's a professional degree, so what's the point of all this 'higher education'?
    90% of grads should have gotten what they get from University at high school. Diploma mills today are a government-funded industry unto themselves, University workers are smart enough to figure out how to milk the government cash cow – for no good reason. Education funding should be cut drastically, get these smart people to contribute instead of live off the rest of us.

    • So we can have a society where every has your level of intelligence? No thanks.

      • So now blue collar people are stupid. glad to see that education made you so egalitarian. You over inflated nerd.

    • Post-secondary graduates are more likely to create their own small business.
      Post-secondary graduates who start small businesses are less likely to close the business within the first five years of its operation. They are thus more likely to expand their business and hire other people.

      They not only tend to hold their jobs for longer, but are hired more quickly when they do not have jobs when compared to those without post-secondary education.

      They also tend to feel healthier and this is backed up by having less visits to doctors than those without post-secondary education.

      They will make, on average, a million dollars more in their lifetime than people with just a high school diploma, and get taxed accordingly.

      They are, in basically every sense, more productive and contribute more to society already while taking less from it.

      So, as usual, as ever, you're wrong.

      • It's always amazed me that it seems to come as a surprise to some people that knowing more and learning to think critically equips one better for life . I've never understood why.

        • Yes, but do university courses typically tend to teach one to think critically, or simply test one's ability to do so? I suggest university students succeed in life not because of the courses they had — and I'll acknowledge that there may be exceptions — but because they have the required aptitudes to begin with.

      • While I agree with all of your comments could much of supposed benefits be attributed to the fact that typically post secondary students tend to come from wealthier more affluent backgrounds? Could it also be that current social and economic trends are reinforcing the fact that ‘universal' education is becoming more and more the providence of the wealthy due to a declining middle class?

        I mean economic prosperity is certainly well and good but is not necessarily the sole reason to pursue an education. It's almost like you're saying if you're poor and uneducated you'll be a drain on society irrespective of your accomplishments.

        What you certainly seem to be saying is that people with less education are given a great deal less opportunity to flourish and grow. I could be misinterpreting your analysis however.

    • 90% of grads should have gotten what they get from University at high school

      To an extent, this is a valid point.

      I think that there are some very serious issues with high school curricula in Canada. The most egregious of which are the English programs and their obsession with Shakespeare, Dickens, et al. Programs focus more on trying to force 'classic works' than they do basic reading and writing. To the extent that – almost universally – Universities insist that students take additional English classes so that students learn how to write an essay.

      High school English classes should be teaching reading comprehension (with works that use modern language and grammar), grammar, and basic writing skills (essays, letters, business documents, proposals, etc.). Take the 'classic works' and shove them into an English lit course where they belong.

      Honestly, the garbage that I've been asked to edit – by people who have supposedly performed reasonably well in their high school English classes – is astounding.

  7. Let's call it for what it is-declining standards. While our jolly old pub crawlers, are doing as little as possible to get a piece of paper, students from India, Pakistan, and other parts of the world are burring the midnight oil attempting to be the best they can be. This in part is why we are so dependent upon immigrants to fill the positions of pharmacists, doctors, engineers, etc. Meanwhile most of our dead weight, enroll in artsy-fartsy programs and are virtually unemployable when they graduate.

    • Note: No comma after crawlers, no comma after "weight," "burring" should actually be spelled "burning," and there really ought to be a colon, rather than a dash, after "what it is." Clearly, you were one of the folks crawling pubs instead of studying your grammar.

      • Please communicate by using complete thoughts!

        No comma after crawlers, no comma after "weight,"

        Are you attempting to tell me that there isn't a comma after crawlers or that there should be a comma after crawlers? Your syntax is very confusing.

        • Did you attend K-12? Congratulations, you have benefited from the work of countless BA, MA, and PhD holders. There is a place in society for every major.

  8. MTB

    If standards were so much higher in 1961, why is it that some of my profs who earned their PhDs around that time were such completely incompetent writers and researchers?

    some of my profs who earned their PhDs

    Suggestions for improvement

    Some is a collective noun and requires a singular verb. So the "s" after PhD or Ph.D is confusing. Do you mean that one of your professors earned more than one Ph.D ?

    • Actually, you're just wrong.

  9. The greatest drop occurred from 1961 to 1981, which was when professor ratings first came into vogue. That in turn motivated profs to grade easier, leading to falling standards, which Babcock argues led to a grade-inflation epidemic.
    ————–

    Imagine working for a boss who's pay is directly related to the performance appraisal he receives from his employees?

    • In most companies this is true. The concept of employer evaluations originated in the corporate world. A great many employers make performance decisions based on their employees evaluations of management. Managers are, after all, managing people.

  10. In a nutshell, the problem lies in a total lack of definition. I'm convinced that the vast majority of university students can rise to the challenge, if the challenge is made clear as to what they need to do. The same applies to teachers, who are attempting to educate their students by using language which is open ended, subject to interpretation, vague and inconsistent.

    Much of this stems from 60's pop culture, where existentialism, humanism, Piaget's school of thought, found its way into the education system. Definition became a synonym for rigidity, calcification, or some primitive form of learning.

    What's happened isn't the fault of the students or parents but rather the fault of those administrators who conduct pedagogical experiments in real time, and are not accountable for the results.

  11. One of the things higher education can provide is an ability to be able to provide relevant and useful comments to a conversation.

    Unlike the previous one.

    • do you have anything intelligent to add to the conversation – or are you just an asshole?

  12. Interesting, as are all articles about grade inflation. I do think the author does not quite get to the real culprit, although she does dare to touch on it.

    I do believe that ease of finding answers on the Internet is one of the reasons for less time spent studying. My theory, however, (and this is just a theory, based on empirical experience of my own eight years of university-level teaching), is that grade inflation is mostly due to the increased enrollment of women in universities, and the rise of women's empowerment since the late 1960s.

    Complaints about grades have probably existed since the democratization of universities, that is, since students were allowed to discuss their grades directly with their professors. However, these complaints rising to a point where professors would actually make grade changes, or changes to grading schemes, have only existed since female students complained, (and yes, literally cried) about their "mean" professors. The result is that professors find it less bothersome to make everyone happy by raising grades rather than dealing with emotional teenage girls who were taught by their parents that they could get anything they wanted. Boys argue their grades as well, but they don't get emotional, and for the most part accept a well-constructed explanation of what they did wrong on a test or assignment and try not to make the same mistake again. I know this because it happened to me on a regular basis, and it happened to just about any other faculty that I have ever discussed it with.

    I am not a misogynist. I believe that women should have the same opportunities as men, and in my academic life I never treated women differently than men. However, what I describe is a dirty little secret in post-secondary education. It is a secret because any university faculty that states this publicly will likely lose his or her job. In fact I voluntarily left the academic world partly for this reason (and also because better opportunities arose).

    • Ah yes, it turns out that the empowered male professor who spent over ten years slaving away on a PhD, surviving years of student debt and traveling to inhospitable research locations is actually just a wuss who can't stand up to a crying teenager. The professor who adhered to strict research protocols on order to establish and maintain credibility with his peers is actually so lacking in integrity that he'll kowtow to a blubbering student just to make his life easier.

      Tell me again how how educational standards were when you managed to eek out a PhD?

      • Ooops, I meant to say, "Tell me again how HIGH educational standards were when you managed to eek out a PhD"

        • it’s eke, not eek

          you pompous ignoramus

          grow a brain before you chastise others, dummy

      • when a female student can essentially accuse you of anything, that student is no longer just a whimpering undergrad with emotional issues; she becomes certifiably dangerous. Why do you think so many male faculty make it a point to have the door open when conversing with female undergraduates (especially the white ones) or certain erratic female colleagues? One underhanded smear campaign can destroy (or badly damage) a career.

    • Grade grubbers most certainly come from both genders (and personally I've not only encountered more guys than gals, but male grade grubbers are the only ones I have seen cry). Grade inflation has a far simpler explanation. Since the 60's we have admitted more students. In the course of doing so admission standards have fallen (at least relative to high school grade inflation). While there have been some positive effects – smart poor and hungry kids can now go to university, as can women and some formerly restricted minorities – these are swamped by the inexorable effects of low standards.

      The gap between the best and worst student is much larger than it was in the 1960's. Grade inflation is one way to deal with that gap, however, it is a bad one that harms our ability to differentiate between students (it is even worse in the US where an A- is 90+, rather than 80+).

      The better way to deal with the problem would be to raise standards. Ironically, our supposedly egalitarian policies make it harder for poor people to enter the job market, by making a degree that takes 4-6 years to complete (increasingly students do not complete within 4 years) a standard requirement for most good jobs, and by eliminating the ability of interviewers to distinguish between candidates (something that inherently benefits those with better connections). However, many people that end up in those jobs do not use their degrees in the course of their work. Many would be better served by apprenticeships, college, or spending 4-6 years learning on the job (and making money).

    • it’s true

      women play the gender card incessantly in academia and, because they often intimidate administrators (and because many administrators are white females themselves), they get away with this stuff.

      It is a harsh axiom, but gynocentric learning environments tend to privilege conformist group-think rather than critical thought and careful analysis (political correctness really never became en vogue in academia until marxist feminists seized control of the pedagogical and curricular agenda in most social sciences faculties across Canada).

  13. I think there’s a bigger issue here. Over the last few decades, maybe from the late 70′s onward, parents and teachers have been pushing the message to children that in order to be successful (financially) you need a university education. This, of course is not true. If you want financial success go to trades school or college, get a certification, work earlier and accumulate less student debt. Unfortunately most kids these days don’t know that. They fallen into the trap of, “I need a degree, to get a job”. The result is a glut of kids many of whom do not really want to be in university and overworked professors and TA’s who don’t want to deal with a bunch of over zealous brats that couldn’t care less about what is being taught and only care about the marks. So, of course the TA’s inflate the grades and the students study less, neither group really wants to be there. This whole situation is destroying the value of a university degree. Not just in terms of job marketability but also in the value of learning for it’s own sake. I enjoyed learning about new things at University. To bad it means so little now…

  14. I think another easy thing that Canadian governments could do is amend their human rights acts to make it illegal for employers to demand university degrees for jobs where they're clearly not required. This is a human rights issue in that, as you point out, it results in those with the money and privilege to go to university getting advantages in the job market over people who might actually be more naturally skilled than they are–thus perpetuating the poverty cycle for the not-so-privileged. If an employer wants to demand a degree, let's force them to justify it before a tribunal.

    • That's what we need – more areas for HRCs to be involved in.

      HR Depts begat HR Depts….

      • Wouldn't you rather have HRC's doing something useful rather than slapping comedians on the wrist for making homophobic jokes?

        • Point taken

          However, I fear they would attempt to do both and maybe more….

    • are you a woman?

      or just another one of these dirty-faced, flea-ridden beta males we see pouring out of english departments every year?

  15. If their parents have education then there more wealthy because of it right??? circular argument.

    • Undertake some education and you'll understand the difference between a circular argument and an argument with multiple correlations. Wealth as a determinant of post-secondary attendance has been studied nearly ad nauseum. Regression tests show that it is far less a significant factor (because of the availability of student loans, grants, scholarships, etc.) than parental education or location.

  16. wow you people are so damn delude it astounds me relatively easy to obtain education??? where the hell did you grow up??

    • Alberta, thank you very much. And yes. It is relatively easy to obtain an education in Canada — provided you don't expect it to be simply handed to you, and that you're willing to undertake some risk. Student loans in Canada are not that hard to get, and even without them, tuition in Canada is relatively low — certainly when compared with our neighbors to the south.

      And with places like Athabasca University even your past performance (or lack thereof) in earlier education doesn't need to be a limiting factor.

      • There is however an issue with student funding – including Alberta.

        A student applying for a student loan may have their parents income assessed as to the need
        for the loan. I am aware of instances where a student loan was declined due to the parent's income
        even though the parents were not 'well off' and working on their own debts. This is/was in Alberta.

        Admittedly, it is possible for most to obtain an education and work with sacrifice is required but there
        are potential strudents who cannot financially support a university level education .

        • If the parents can't support the child, my understanding is that they can simply inform student finance of that fact, and the need for parenta support is waived.

  17. what exactly is your point, the uneducated who ware the majority by the way are not equal to the educated. you are right but so what, we can't all be physicists, some one has to make the real world go round.

    • <sigh> I just got trolled, didn't I?

  18. Suppose it were found that Scotch drinkers earn more than non-Scotch drinkers. Are they successful because of the Scotch? That's my problem with the university-graduates-earn-more mantra.

    • You're assuming they haven't done any analysis to show that the degree is the most significant factor.

      They have.

    • There are techniques to control for these kinds of effects. One approach, for instance, is to look at twins, which effectively controls for natural ability and family variables. Even in such instances they find a statistically significant and positive return to additional years of schooling (in rich countries an additional year of schooling is about a 8-9% return on investment). What is confusing is that findings are actually mixed on whether education spending has a positive impact on growth.

  19. What happened to grading using "the curve" – the top 2 percent get an "A"; the bottom 2 percent fail and everyone else falls inbetween. I have also written tests where questions were elimated if the top 2 percent of the class got them wrong as it was assumed that the question was badly written (etc). There will always be the uber-competitive top achievers in college so if there are concerns about grade inflating by professors, I think it can be largely dealt with by having students compete against one another.

  20. I am inclined to agree with much of this. Another avenue that is starting to be addressed in some secondary education
    facilities are the trades. Modern trades are much more technologically sophisticated and are in many cases, requiring
    a minimum completed high school education with some hard science courses as an entry requirement.

    Many students should not be inuniversity (this also applies to many profs but that's a personal observation) but would do very well with a technology/trades degree/certificate.

    Some employers are starting to realize that an apprenticed person with recognized tech/trades credentials may be a more valuable employee than one with a new BSc. There is a definite need for universities but as a society, we may be over valuing them and potentially wasting valuable human resources that would be better developed in tech/trades.

    Not to subvert the dominant paradigm or anything…..

  21. women learned a long time ago that they can smear, vilify, impugn and desecrate male colleagues and instructors – and get away with it. Rather than put up with their garbage, people just mindlessly give them what they want. Guy Caballero hit a home run with his observations

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