The excerpt below from a recent AP article addresses the growing concern with the learning efficacy of U.S. higher education at the ultimate level of graduation. In the absence of external, independently provided assessments of what people know, the college degree is the best available indicator of how well non-profit institutions are fulfilling their obligations to deliver effective learning services and account for the results. The article points out that the trend data on graduation rates are not encouraging.
U.S. college drop-out rate sparks concern. Educators turn attention to getting students all the way to graduation
Associated Press, Nov. 15, 2005
For decades, getting more students into college has been the top priority of America’s higher education leaders. But what’s the point, a growing number of experts are wondering, when so few who go to school finish a degree? Just 54 percent of students entering four-year colleges in 1997 had a degree six years later — and even fewer Hispanics and blacks did, according to some of the latest government figures. After borrowing for school but failing to graduate, many of those students may be worse off than if they had never attended college at all. Now the question of what to do about the country’s unimpressive and stagnate graduation rates is on the agenda, from college presidents’ offices to state houses. The latest sign of the trend comes Wednesday, when former Princeton President William Bowen lays out an ambitious research agenda on the question during a speech in New York. Read more ...